It's always a bittersweet feeling when the final chapter in a saga has been written. While there's a sense of fulfillment in the end, the feeling of loss is inevitable. Eight chapters after their story had begun being written, Five Iron Frenzy offers the final and most appropriate installment to make a grand and glorious exit.
Five Iron's final record, appropriately titled The End Is Near, picks up where Electric Boogaloo left off, but corrects every flaw that record possessed. Each song on The End... has clearly been written with more thought and detail than their past several records. While songs may not be nearly as catchy as some classics found on Our Newest Album Ever, they're solid rock-with-horns tracks regardless. The End... opens with "Cannonball," a rock track with authority, followed nicely by the hopelessly humorous "At Least I'm Not Like All The Other Old Guys." "So Far, So Bad" is a rock track with ska seasoning that lyrically addresses the band's struggles in the music industry throughout their history. "New Year's Eve" and "American Kryptonite" are glorified and tasty filler songs that set the stage for the contemplative and worshipful acknowledgement of God's presence throughout their career in "It Was Beautiful." Five Iron is very mindful of their demise lyrically on The End is Near. While this might hinder the musical all-purpose mood for some, it's delightful to hear the band's thoughts on Five Iron Frenzy as a whole -- from their warm praises to their Creator to the sad frustrations in trying to make it in a career in music. "Wizard Needs Food, Badly" is a fun and classic light-hearted track while "Farewell To Arms" offers an edgier mood while managing to sound great from beginning to end. "And The Flames Begin To Rise" mixes a little acid reggae and pop/rock to create a inevitably catchy track before trading the sound for a darker sound on "Anchors Away." An unforgettable highlight on The End is Near for the fans is "That's How the Story Ends," a track that serves as the end-all response to such songs as "Where's Micah?," "These Are Not My Pants," "Brad Is Dead" and others. A bittersweet track in and of itself due to its nature, "That's How the Story Ends" brings closure to some of the most beloved tracks the band has ever recorded, making this an appropriate and unique closer for the project. But what would a Five Iron Frenzy record be without a worshipful finale as they have done in the past with "Every New Day," "World Without End," and "Eulogy"? "On Distant Shores" dots the final "I's" and crosses the final "T's" of the band's musical career and even borrows its closing lines from the renowned "Every New Day" to make for a truly appropriate closer.
The End is Near marks the end of this band's long career, but Five Iron Frenzy's message and music will echo in the hearts of fans for decades to come. Thanks guys for a great run. And thanks for putting forth what is arguably your best record yet and therefore going out with a bang. The End.- Review date: 7/8/03, written by John DiBiase
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