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Five Finger Death Punch And Breaking Benjamin at Ak-Chin with Guests

November 10, 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 11:30 pm

One of the most successful groove metal bands of the 2010s, Five Finger Death Punch have been a staple of the Billboard charts since their formation in 2005. Taking their name from the cult martial arts film The Five Fingers of Death, the band’s titanic riffs and darkly skewed lyrics deliver a brand of vintage thrash and blazing metal as powerful as their name. In the years following their 2007 debut, they have amassed a slew of awards via gold and platinum-selling outings like 2011’s American Capitalist, 2013’s ambitious two-volume set The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, and 2018’s And Justice for None.

The Los Angeles-based outfit formed around the talents of former U.P.O. guitar player Zoltan Bathory, former W.A.S.P.guitarist Darrell Roberts, vocalist Ivan Moody(Motograter/Ghost Machine), bass player Matt Snell(Anubis Rising), and former W.A.S.P. drummer Jeremy Spencer. The underground supergroup’s volatile but groove-heavy debut, Way of the Fist, was released in 2007, followed by War Is the Answer in 2009. The following year, bassist Matt Snell parted ways with Five Finger Death Punch just after they went into the studio to begin work on a new album, and in 2011 the band recruited Chris Kael to take over for him. Later that year, they released their third studio album, American Capitalist.

After a round of touring, Five Finger Death Punch eventually returned to the studio, where they quickly learned they had too much new material for one album. The result was The Wrong Side of Heaven and the Righteous Side of Hell, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, which were released in the summer and fall of 2013, respectively. That winter, they indicated they had begun working on a sixth album. After a lengthy tour, the band returned to the studio and recorded the video single “Wrong Side of Heaven.” Released in August of 2014, it was a powerful statement about the plight of returning war veterans suffering from PTSD, depression, and other psychological problems and virtually ignored by both government and social service organizations. After several tours and a brief respite, Five Finger Death Punch resumed work on their new album. Entitled Got Your Six, it was issued in September of 2015. Released in 2017, Decade of Destruction was the band’s first career overview, and featured the new singles “Trouble” and “Gone Away,” both of which also appeared on the group’s 2018 studio LP, And Justice for None.

Pennsylvania hard rock outfit Breaking Benjamin debuted with a brand of metal-tinged alternative that came to define the sound of mainstream rock in the early 2000s. Over the years, multiple lineup changes would impact the sound of the band, which developed into a more arena-friendly act by the late 2000s. Originally indebted to the minor-chord dirges of grunge rockers like Alice in Chains and the menacing darkness of nu-metal acts like Godsmack and ChevelleBreaking Benjamin became one of the most popular rock bands in the United States, scoring a number one with the single “Breath” in 2007 and topping the Billboard 200 in 2015 with Dark Before Dawn. In addition, three of their albums — 2004’s We Are Not Alone, 2006’s Phobia, and 2009’s Dear Agony — have been certified platinum in the U.S.

In late 2000, after parting ways with the band Lifer, founding guitarist Aaron Fink and bassist Mark Klepaski joined forces with singer Benjamin Burnley and drummer Jeremy Hummel to form Breaking Benjamin. When the quartet started playing around their hometown of Wilkes-Barre, they favored a radio-friendly post-grunge approach that was informed by influences like LiveBushPearl JamStone Temple Pilots, and Nirvana. Later, they would adopt the downtuned guitar sound of bands like Kornand Tool.

In 2001, Breaking Benjamin‘s Wilkes-Barre gigs caught the attention of a local radio DJ named Freddie Fabbri, who was an on-air personality at alt-rock station WBSX-FM. Fabbri put their song “Polyamorous” in rotation, later financing the recording of their self-titled debut EP. That year, they signed with Hollywood Records, which connected the band with Ulrich Wild (Static-XPanteraSlipknot), who served as both producer and engineer on their debut full-length, 2002’s Saturate. The David Bendeth-produced We Are Not Alonefollowed two years later, complete with a few collaborations with Billy Corgan. The band landed a spot on tour with Evanescence in support of the effort, as three of the album’s singles made their way onto the Billboard charts (“So Cold” and “Sooner or Later” both peaked at number two on the Mainstream Rock Songs list).

Breaking Benjamin issued their third album, Phobia, in August 2006 before heading out on a nationwide headlining trek. The album featured new drummer Chad Szeliga and was spearheaded by the single “The Diary of Jane,” which gained radio airplay and helped the album debut at number two on the Billboard charts. Phobia was reissued that fall with additional bonus tracks, while the band continued touring alongside Godsmack. After the tour, Breaking Benjamindove back into the studio to begin work on their fourth full-length. The resulting Dear Agony, fueled by first single “I Will Not Bow,” arrived in the summer of 2009. More touring followed, including legs with Three Days Grace and Nickelback, before Burnley announced a hiatus due to persistent health issues. Ensuing legal disputes within the band led to Fink and Klepaski being fired just before a collection, Shallow Bay: The Best of Breaking Benjamin, was released in 2011. Szeliga exited the band in 2013.

The following year, Burnley confirmed that Breaking Benjamin would continue as a quintet, and in June of 2015 they returned with their first album of new material in six years, Dark Before Dawn. The comeback effort featured the lineup of Burnley (who also produced), guitarists Jasen Rauch and Keith Wallen, bassist Aaron Bruch, and drummer Shaun Foist. While the lead single, “Failure,” cracked the Billboard Hot 100 and hit number one on the Mainstream Rock Songs chart, the album became their first American chart-topper. While still touring behind Dark Before DawnBreaking Benjamin recorded their sixth effort, Ember, which arrived in 2018. Debuting on the charts at number three, the effort included the singles “Red Cold River,” “Feed the Wolf,” and “Blood.”

A Los Angeles, California-based heavy metal outfit with an impressive hard rock pedigree, Bad Wolvesemploy a lethal blend of melody and might that invokes names like MeshuggahMudvayne, and Sevendust. They gained mainstream attention in 2018 with their cover of the Cranberries‘ “Zombie,” released soon after vocalist Dolores O’Riordan‘s death.

Formed in 2014 by ex-DevilDriver co-founder John Boecklin(drums, guitars), the quintet also features the talents of vocalist Tommy Vext (SnotWestfield Massacre), Doc Coyle (guitar), Chris Cain (guitar), and Kyle Konkiel (bass). In 2016, the band decamped to Audio Hammer Studios with Mark Lewis (TriviumAll That Remains) to craft what would become their debut album, which was released via Eleven Seven in 2018. Disobey entered the Billboard 200 at number 23, peaking on the Rock chart at number three. To promote the effort, Bad Wolves joined Five Finger Death PunchShinedown, and Breaking Benjamin on tour.

A side project that turned into a main band for all involved, rap-rock group From Ashes to New fell together with members from other Lancaster, Pennsylvania bands that were falling apart. Vocalist and guitarist Matt Brandyberry started the band in August of 2013, and the lineup gradually coalesced around area veterans Chris Musser (rapping, vocals), Branden Kreider (guitar), and Tim d’Onofrio(drums).

After releasing a self-titled EP that same year, the group entered the studio with producer Grant McFarland and produced the Downfall EP for Eleven Seven Music in 2015. Bolstered by “Through It All,” a Top 20 hit on the mainstream rock chart, From Ashes to New released their debut album, Day One, in February 2016. Tim d’Onofrio and Chris Musser left the fold the following year, with Mat Madirostepping in as the new drummer and Danny Case joining the group on vocals. In February 2018, the band dropped the single “Crazy” ahead of the release of their sophomore full-length effort The Future, which arrived later that April. The set entered the Billboard 200 at number 163.