FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH's CHRIS KAEL On 'F8' Album: 'It Feels Like The Blade Of The Knife Has Been Sharpened With Sobriety'

January 26, 2020

FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH bassist Chris Kael spoke to Finland's Kaaos TV about the band's upcoming eighth album, "F8", which is due on February 28 via Better Noise Music. Regarding the band's mindset going into the new LP's writing process, Kael said (see video below): "As everybody knows, we had some substance issues in the band a while back. I'm coming up on two years sober now. Ivan [Moody, vocals] is just behind me; I think he's at 23 months. So, going into this writing process, just the amount of clarity, the amount of focus, no extra distractions at all… A lot of times, when you've got people together that are using extra substances, little minor flare-ups will turn into big flare-ups, and it's ridiculous. And just high pressure — it's our eighth record now. But right out of the gate, the first three songs that we wrote for this record were monsters. We were, like, 'Woah! This is gonna be awesome.'

"I don't wanna tell anybody what my favorite songs are on the record, because I don't wanna influence other people's opinions on this," he continued. "But I will tell you that all the other bands, every other band in the history of the world has always said, 'Oh, this is our best album ever. We're doing this, doing that.' But I can honestly look at you in the eyes right now here in the camera and tell everybody out there that this new record, 'F8', is my favorite FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH record ever — hands down. Not just a couple of favorite songs, but as a whole, it's amazing. Again, hitting new depths lyrically. Ivan, with his clarity now, [is] writing a lot of introspective stuff. A lot of the anger is still in there, because that's just who we are and what we do. With a name like FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, it's still a little pissed off, and we still are a little pissed off, despite being sober now. So, a lot of introspection stuff on there. And just the melodies, and we're all playing great and clear, focused. It feels like the blade of the knife has been sharpened with sobriety."

Asked if he would agree with guitarist Zoltan Bathory's recent comment that "F8" represents a "rebirth" of sorts for FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH, Kael said: "One hundred percent. That nails it. With all the different work that's gone on in our personal lives, professionally — just in everything. It's a rebirth all the way around. We're happier than we've ever been, getting along better than we ever have, working together better than we ever have. We had a certain fire about us, coming up. Anyone that's been with us since [2007's debut album] 'The Way Of The Fist', it's something that's propelled us. And coming up on our eighth record now, it was really a rebirth, a new generation for FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH. Everything's great. I can't complain at all.

"I don't wanna say that we don't have anything angry to write about anymore, 'cause we definitely do," he clarified. "When you're going through the stuff that we've gone through and are going through the emotional changes that are involved with the new birth of DEATH PUNCH, there's a lot of [angry] stuff to write [about] on there. So I think you guys are all gonna be really pleasantly surprised.

"In interviews in the past, with records coming out, I would always say, 'Oh, if you liked DEATH PUNCH before, you're gonna like this one. But if you didn't like us, you're still not gonna like us.' But with this one, I think it's transcending in the sense that we've done what we do, and we've always done it well, but I think with this new one, as much as the audience has already grown, I really think that this new one is gonna open us up to some more people that maybe haven't really listened to FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH or have heard stuff and [been like], 'Oh, maybe I'll check it out.' This new one, it's all over the place, man, as far as great songs at every turn on this thing. So, I think as good as things are going right now, we're continually stepping up our game and I'm excited about where this new record's gonna take us."

FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH's new disc was once again helmed by Kevin Churko, the Canadian record producer/engineer and songwriter who currently lives in Las Vegas, where he works out of his private studio, The Hideout Recording Studio.

The drums on the LP were laid down by Charlie "The Engine" Engen, who made his live debut with the group during its fall 2018 tour with BREAKING BENJAMIN. He stepped in for original drummer Jeremy Spencer, who left the band in December 2018 due to a back injury.

FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH recently announced the dates for a new spring North American tour. The trek kicks off on April 8 in Sunrise, Florida, winding down on May 20 in St. Paul, Minnesota. PAPA ROACH, I PREVAIL and ICE NINE KILLS will join FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH on the upcoming road trip.

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