Five Iron Frenzy - The Rise and Fall of Five Iron Frenzy DVD (Cover Artwork)

Five Iron Frenzy

Five Iron Frenzy: The Rise and Fall of Five Iron Frenzy DVDThe Rise and Fall of Five Iron Frenzy DVD (2010)
Asian Man Records

Reviewer Rating: 4

Contributed by: GlassPipeMurderGlassPipeMurder
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Clues: They were a ska-punk band that found success without the help of mainstream radio, major labels or MTV airplay. Their varied songs tackled such controversial subjects as police brutality, homophobia, corporate hegemony and female empowerment. No, not Choking Victim, Against All Authority .

Clues: They were a ska-punk band that found success without the help of mainstream radio, major labels or MTV airplay. Their varied songs tackled such controversial subjects as police brutality, homophobia, corporate hegemony and female empowerment.

No, not Choking Victim, Against All Authority or Operation Ivy.

Bonus clue: They played their songs for the glory of Jesus Christ.

For nine years, Denver, Colorado's Five Iron Frenzy walked a fuzzy line between a hard-working, heavy touring ska-punk band and a successful Christian mainstay. This DVD chronicles their journey from pre-inception to post-breakup in its three hours and 15 minutes of footage, photos, interviews and more.

Yes, I did say three hours and 15 minutes. And that doesn't include the bonus disc. This exhaustive documentary was assembled entirely by frontman Reese Roper and lies somewhere between overkill and ultimate archive for the FIF superfan. I personally thought there was a little too much coverage of their early metal incarnation Exhumator and some assorted clips of the band just being goofs and singing songs about "retards" that should have been left on the cutting room floor or at least been relegated to the "deleted scenes" section of the bonus disc. But for the most part, it's pretty requisite stuff.

The aforementioned divide between secular and Christian ambitions is not played down in The Rise and Fall of Five Iron Frenzy. There are clips of Roper in an Avail shirt shouting along while the band plays a cover of "Minor Threat" to their bewildered fans and video of the band joining Rx Bandits on stage for "What If." Band members candidly lampoon conservative televangelists Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell for their hateful reaction to 9/11, and founding guitarist Scott Kerr openly discusses losing his faith and exiting the band in 1998. Throughout the documentary, various members express their desire to reach past playing to the choir and doing as many secular shows and tours as appearances at Christian festivals and circuits. The conundrum was that while doing non-Christian shows like the Ska Against Racism tour was rewarding from a personal standpoint, it was the Christian tours and festivals that allowed them to make a living playing music for nine years.

The Christian foundations of Five Iron Frenzy are not played down either, as band members recount their experiences with God and faith, musical ministry, and their work in an orphanage on a trip to South Africa. The interviews are organic and frank, the only certifiable prudeness coming when "ass" is inexplicably bleeped out from an interview. Other than that, Roper does an outstanding job narrating the history of the band as well as providing an undertone that helps set the mood and context of each progression in the storyline.

There is obviously way too much to dissect here in 500-some words. Five Iron Frenzy superfans will have no better source for historical and biographical information and video regarding their favorite band than this DVD, while more moderate fans will enjoy a sizable fraction of this epic documentary. Either way, it is an impressive labor of love that will stand as the definitive Five Iron Frenzy DVD for years to come.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
rbrack20 (October 17, 2012)

I was always sad watching this because i thought it was one of my favorite bands that was gone forever, but now that they are back, it makes me really want to see it again.

GlassPipeMurder (August 20, 2010)

'for years to come' is not a literal phrase of finite measure. it indicates an indefinite duration in the future.

Lmnndtlgrph (August 20, 2010)

I like the last line of the review about how it will stand as the definitive Five Iron Frenzy DVD for YEARS to come.

I don't know, dude. What about all of those OTHER Five Iron Frenzy DVDs that'll be coming out in the next few years? Don't you think one of 'em might topple this one?

Either way, you were definitely wise to only give this DVD the title for a matter of year because SURELY as the next decade begins, a far more definitive Five Iron Frenzy DVD will come along, right?

Broski (August 18, 2010)


Cos (August 18, 2010)

I miss Mealticket--a weird band that commited to the ska touring circuit but never really fit in anywhere.

TahoeJeff (August 18, 2010)

The documentary portion is pretty interesting, but it probably could've been shortened up. It definitely dragged at times. But It was cool seeing some video footage of some bands I haven't heard from in ages...like Mealticket. The inclusion of video footage of their entire last show was worth buying the DVD alone. Such a great set and fantastic quality.

boobthemusicindustry (August 18, 2010)

These guys and mxpx are the closest thing to punk anyone at my christian college has heard of.

nocigar (August 18, 2010)

here come the jesus freaks

welcome_to_1984 (August 18, 2010)

I've got three tattoo's having to do with these guys. I paid for my then girlfriend (now wife) to go to their final show because I was unable to make it (basic combat training). If more Christian's acted like these guys (and I truly believe its how Christians are called to act) then there would be a lot less Christian anger at the 'Org.

theproblemwithfire (August 18, 2010)

i went through a christian music phase in high school that included this band at the top of my christian music favorites. they were always nice people and put on a good show. my sister bought this and even though i haven't listened to these guys in ages, i checked it out. pretty comprehensive and a must-see for fans of these guys. i liked how they included the stories of the two members losing their faith, something i can relate to.

Cos (August 17, 2010)

I remember seeing this band around 96/97 and it was the first indication that the ska scene was really going to shit. They were one of many bands that stopped innovating and aped Less Than Jake instead. Wigs on stage? Check. Ironic metal covers? Double check. Goofy and non-threatening demeanor? Check and check. Thanks for riding the third wave guys. Hope the crash was hard on you.

fresnoska (August 17, 2010)

I put this on the other day at 1AM, thinking I would soon fall asleep. I stayed up and watched the whole thing, pretty good, but I also could have done without the exhaustive history of Exhumator. Made me dig out my old FIF cds.

runneruprecords (August 17, 2010)

watched this all the way through in one sitting without a problem. runs long, but is a great watch.

thepopeofchili-town (August 17, 2010)

Gimper and Jesus are stoked. These dudes were local for me but I never checked em out. Not my style.

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