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“Heavy metal/hard rock was always the tool of that revolution. The tool of disagreement. But so is hip hop, that is also the voice of rebellion.”

Zoltan Bathory

Five Finger Death Punch have never been a band to shy away from musical experimentation and collaborating with artists outside of their comfort zone and chosen genre.

Over the years they have recorded songs with everyone from Rob Halford to Brian May to Kenny Wayne Shepherd, each time taking themselves out of their safety net and into the musical psyche of bands and artists many would not even consider sharing space with.

But perhaps the biggest collaboration of them all came when Five Finger Death Punch recorded a song with rapper/hip hop artist DMX called This Is The Way, which was originally meant to be included on their 2022 album Afterlife.

Sadly, DMX was taken from the world before that could happen, with Afterlife being released without that song in order to pay respects and tie up any lingering issues and legalities.

But now, two years later, that album is being re-released in Deluxe format with acoustic versions of album songs The End, Judgement Day, and Thanks For Asking, plus the collaboration with DMX which is already being hailed as a defining moment in metal/rap crossover history.

HEAVY sat down for a rare chat with guitarist Zoltan Bathory to go over Afterlife Deluxe, which is out now.

“Great, man. This has been a long time in… we worked on it for a long, long time,” he measured. “This deluxe edition of the record is coming out because at the time when we originally released this album we had this track which is the collaboration with DMX everybody is talking about and the song was meant to be on this record. However, because DMX passed, and we had to have the approval of every single person that was involved – the estate to the producers and publishers – we realised that it might take longer. And it did take a bit over a year to complete everything, and we didn’t wanna wait, so we released the album without this track. But this track was always meant to be on this album. Every record you assemble, every song has a reason to be there and every song has a reason to be in that specific spot in the sequence. And so, one of my favourite records we did – Afterlife – was still missing this song and this song is important and was important to be on this record. Basically now with the deluxe edition coming out I feel like we completed the record.”

In the full interview, Zoltan talks about his excitement about getting the deluxe version of Afterlife out, how This Is The Way completes the album musically, the three acoustic songs and how they broke them down, the meaning behind Judgement Day, where Afterlife stands in Five Finger Death Punch‘s musical evolution, collaborating with DMX and the parallels between heavy metal and hip hop, touring plans and more.


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