Five Finger Death Punch, Bad Wolves & More Radiate Rock In Lexington [Review & Gallery]

Five Finger Death Punch

Knuckleheads big and small, young and old converged on Rupp Arena in Lexington Kentucky for an early December night of rock and roll! For those reading this that don’t know what a “Knucklehead” is (other than what your Dad called you when you did something questionable as a child, or maybe that was just my childhood) that’s what the fan base of Five Finger Death Punch call themselves and they have shown up by the thousands to see what Lexington’s own Chris Kael and the rest of Five Finger Death Punch have in store for them. Five Finger Death Punch didn’t show up to the most holy of holy arena’s in college basketball alone, no they brought Three Days Grace, Bad Wolves and Fire From The Gods. This night was going to be LOUD!


Fire From The Gods was first up on this epic night in Lexington. This Dallas, Texas band fresh off the release of their third studio album ‘American Sun’ (Album review can be found here) ripped through a terrific set of songs, that included “Truth To the Weak(Not Built To Collapse),” “Another Level,” and “Fight the World.” Lead singer AJ is one of the most passionate vocalists you will ever hear and he usually has some heart to heart with the crowd during their performance. They came on to the scene with their first album that had some songs produced by Fred Durst but their recent album has really seen mainstream success with the hit singles “Right Now,” and “End Transmission.” In the few short months since I last saw Fire From The Gods they have grown as a band and belong on this big arena stage! Give them a listen, you will not be sorry.


To say the last couple years have been good years for this newer supergroup would be an extreme understatement! Bad Wolves as a band have only been around since 2017 but the members have been involved in numerous bands (Devildriver, In This Moment, Bury Your Dead, God Forbid, Divine Heresy) for many years and that experience is on display when you see them live or hear their music. But what I saw tonight was on another level, they have stepped up their game big time. Kicking the set off with two songs from their most recent release ‘N.A.T.I.O.N.’ “No Messiah” and “Foe or Friend”. They were a tight group the last time I saw them but now they are a well-oiled machine, made to be on a big arena stage. That big stage gave Tommy Vext room to move and move he did! Jumping from the drum riser (more than once) running back and forth across the stage and yes for those wondering, he is as big as he looks in pictures and videos! Of course they closed out their set with the breakout hit “Zombie” (The Cranberries cover).


Three Days Grace hit the Rupp Arena stage like a band that’s been playing music in front of big crowds for a long time with a set list of hit songs after hit songs! Don’t believe me? They started off with “The Mountain” and “Home,” big enough hits for you? Well the Rupp Arena crowd thought so, after those two songs they were in a rock and roll frenzy! But Three Days Grace didn’t let off the gas they just kept pouring it on, remember those hit songs I mentioned? How about “Break,” “Pain,” and “I Hate Everything About You?” It was a greatest hits collection of rock radio and fan favorites and the fans tonight couldn’t get enough! Three Days Grace saved one song for last, a song that was sure to send this crowd over the edge and “Riot” just about brought the house down. Holy shit what a setlist!


There are not many bands touring right now that could follow what we just witnessed but Five Finger Death Punch are one of those bands! Why, you ask? Well it’s because of Ivan Moody being Ivan (check out this interview with Ivan here), it’s Jason Hook lifted up on a 30’ platform playing a guitar solo, and it’s Chris Kael slamming on the bass and changing into so many different University of Kentucky shirts and jerseys that I lost count (it’s his homecoming show after all) or it’s Zoltan Bathroy shredding guitar and flingin dreads and its new guy Charlie Engen under the skull banging on the drums (one of the few drummers around that is not stuck in the dark, actually has some light on him, sorry that’s a photography thing). Bring those five guys together and they produce one of the best live shows you could ask for, oh, throw in some fire and a killer light show and that’s why they are the band that is one of the best headliners in modern rock and metal!


It was full throttle from the moment Five Finger Death Punch took the Rupp Arena stage opening with “Lift Me Up,” and “Trouble.” Ivan would pause between songs to conversate with the crowd. He even apologized for missing the meet and great, he was under the weather a bit. Saw a doctor and they fixed him up, touch of the flu or something of that sort. Whatever it was it wasn’t noticeable after the first song. I mentioned earlier that this was Chris Kael’s homecoming show, he went to high school in Lexington so he was fired up for the Lexington crowd. He’s always a wild man on stage but it was amplified tonight, there’s even a picture in the gallery of him telling me I’m number one, you’ll know it when you see it! Anyway, back to the music; Five Finger Death Punch cranks out a couple of killer covers “Bad Company,” and “Blue On Black” but between those two are several other songs and an acoustic version of “Wrong Side Of Heaven” which is always a highlight because during past performances Ivan has brought kids out of the crowd onto the stage but for whatever reason they couldn’t do that tonight. He did work his way around the stage finding kids in the crowd and threw them candy until he made his way back center stage and saw a little girl on her dads shoulders, he (Ivan) was out of candy so he took off his necklace and threw that to her! It was back to the music again with “Never Enough” and “Burn MF.” Closing out this 16 song set list with “Under And Over It” and “The Bleeding.” A killer night of music to say the least!!


One thing I’ve learned talking with people about Five Finger Death Punch, there really isn’t any middle ground, you’re either a fan or you’re not. Tonight was a building full of fans! I am not ashamed to say that I am a fan, if not only for the bad ass music but for Five Finger Death Punch’s support for our military and first responders. I come from a military and law enforcement family, so I appreciate everything Five Finger Death Punch does for both!

*This article and photo gallery is dedicated to the grandfather of Thomas “Tom” Biggs (writer/photographer). Mr. Thomas E. Williams served in the U.S. Navy for 26 years. He served in World War II, Korean War and the Vietnam War, before retiring. He was also a Fire Chief from 1965-1988 in his hometown of Hornbreak, Tennessee and an accomplished clock maker. Mr Williams passed away on Jan. 6, 2020 at the age of 97. We posthumously  thank Mr. Williams for his service and dedication to his country. Our thoughts are with Tom and the family.*

Wessel’s Top 10 Albums Of 2019!

Another year might have come to an end but the music from 2019 will continue on forever. Even though the year has seen many great records it is finally time for me to pick my own top 10, with some additional special albums that made my year just a touch better, and share those with you good people. So with that being said dig in and have a wonderful 2020!

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Review: FIRE FROM THE GODS – ‘American Sun’ [Official Videos]

Ever since the release of ‘Narrative’ Fire From The Gods has earned the respect of many and I bet after listening to their just released record ‘American Sun’ those very few left will be convinced to love and respect them as much as we do!

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Louder Than Life Festival Spotlight: FIRE FROM THE GODS [Official Videos]

Welcome back to our ongoing series of LOUDER THAN LIFE 2019 artist profiles, our weekly guide through the lineup of acts who’ll take the stage at Louisville, Kentucky’s Highland Festival Grounds at Kentucky Expo Center September 27-29 in what’s sure to be one of the biggest concert events of the year. This week, we’re taking a closer look at the Austin, Texas based melodic nu metal rockers Fire From The Gods.

Fire From The Gods formed in Austin, TX in 2010 and has really sprung onto the scene in the last year or so. Their album ‘Narrative’ had bangers like “Excuse Me” and “End Transmission” with AJ Channer controlling the flow of the songs with his blend of rap, reggae, and rock vocals to keep you on your toes. Fire From The Gods is likely one of the most energetic and complex bands slated to perform at this years Louder Than Life festival. AJ Channer is actually the band’s second vocalist after he replaced Eric July who is now doing a project called Backwordz. Fire From The Gods has already played several major festivals like Rock on the Range, Carolina Rebellion, Welcome to Rockville and they blessed the stage at the 2017 Louder Than Life as well. They only continue grew in popularity by playing on the Vans Warped Tour a few summers ago. This isn’t just your typical, generic rap or nu metal band. These guys have a message to go with their music that has been needed for a long time. Continue reading

REVIEW: OF MICE & MEN – ‘Defy’

2018 has already been a great year for music for the most part as far as new releases, new tour announcements, and new band updates go.  So far this year, we’ve been graced with several brand new kick-ass albums and several more on the way with one of those being the new release from metalcore giants Of Mice & Men, ‘Defy’.  The brand new album, set for release this Friday, January 19, is the band’s first album since the recent departure of former frontman, Austin Carlile, who left the band in late 2016 to focus on recovery from a long-term illness.  Stepping up to take over vocals, bassist Aaron Pauley utilizes ‘Defy’ to showcase just how qualified he is for his new position in the band. Continue reading

Louder Than Life Spotlight: FIRE FROM THE GODS

*Every Tuesday and Thursday from now until Louder Than Life gets here we will be releasing an article about a band playing the festival to get you familiar with them.*

Today’s artist is Fire From The Gods.

On September 30th, Texas rap metal band Fire From The Gods hits Champions Park for the first time. The band formed in Austin, TX in 2010 and has really sprung onto the scene in the last year or so. Their album ‘Narrative’ had bangers like “Excuse Me” and “End Transmission” with AJ Channer controlling the flow of the songs with his blend of rap, reggae, and rock vocals to keep you on your toes. AJ Channer is actually the band’s second vocalist after he replaced Eric July who is now doing a project called Backwordz. Fire From The Gods has already played several major festivals this year like Rock on the Range, Carolina Rebellion, and Welcome to Rockville. They only continue to gain popularity as they’ve been playing on the Vans Warped Tour all summer as well. This isn’t just your typical, generic rap metal band. These guys have a message to go with their music that has been needed for a long time. Continue reading

Interview With AJ Channing Of FIRE FROM THE GODS! [Video]

FIRE FROM THE GODS are truly hitting the ground running. Some are compelled to put a label on the band and often it doesn’t fit their unique sound. Rap metal, nu metal, hardcore, or a combination of all of the above still doesn’t define this undefinable band. The quintet’s unique approach to music delivers a familiar but original sound. Calling Austin, Texas home, the band has set out to bring a bigger, more important message to metal that they feel has been lacking. Lead vocalist AJ Channer had this to say about the upcoming record: Continue reading

Review: FIRE FROM THE GODS – ‘Narrative Retold’

Unlike any other band in recent memory, Fire From The Gods have springboarded onto the music scene with recognition all around the metal community. The quintet’s combination of rap, hardcore, and metalcore brews a familiar but original sound. From Austin, TX, the band has set out to bring a bigger, more important message to metal that they feel has been lacking. Lead vocalist AJ Channer had this to say about the upcoming record:

“This album is the personal narrative of a minority man living in major cities and being American, there’s a socio-economic theme throughout the whole record that carries from each song to song. It’s all about the underdog. We’ve all had to fight for everything we have in this band. The political climate in our country is quite racially and socially charged. There are a lot of issues and energy people are expressing along with misguided hate and anger. I want to channel this in music that can resonate. This is where we come from and who we are as a band.”

‘Narrative Retold’ is Fire From The God’s second record and their debut on major label Rise Records. The album drops this Friday on May 19th; you can pre-order the record here. They are already building a well-established fan base touring across the country while making stops at large festivals like Carolina Rebellion and Rock on the Range. Continue reading

FIRE FROM THE GODS Release Official Music Video For “The Voiceless” Off Of Upcoming ‘Narrative Retold’ Album

Since the release of their debut LP, Narrative, last summer – Austin, Texas hardcore outfit, Fire From The Gods, have experienced a rapid surge in popularity. Attaining a record deal from Rise Records in the process, Fire From The Gods’ second album, Narrative Retold, is slated for a May 19th release. And the forecast could not look brighter for this young band’s sophomore LP, as the official music video for “The Voiceless”, revealed by Fire From The Gods last Friday, is an all-out slammer! Make sure and check out the music video above! “The Voiceless” is one of two tracks featured on Narrative Retold that were produced by none other than Jonathan Davis of Korn. Harnessing a genuine hardcore mentality with the perfect touch of melody, Fire From The Gods are bound to release one of the most solid albums of the year next month – that said based on this raw, powerful track alone. Continue reading

Carolina Rebellion! Line-Up Announcement & Must See Bands!

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Soundgarden (Friday), Def Leppard (Saturday) and Avenged Sevenfold (Sunday) will headline the 7th annual Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion May 5, 6 and 7 at Rock City Campgrounds at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. Carolina Rebellion presale tickets and layaway packages, as well as hotel, camping and VIP packages, are on sale now at www.CarolinaRebellion.com. In 2016, Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion had another record breaking year with over 90,000 fans in attendance, so fans are encouraged to buy early and save and to be sure to secure a ticket for 2017. Continue reading