On ‘End of Time,’ Sam Fishman proves you can still rock hard without selling out
If the mainstream music industry was the only template ever used to release music, Sam Fishman’s latest album “End of Time” would never exist.
The mainstream music industry has certain strange beliefs that permeate the way musicians do things, even though it’s never the only way to find success. For instance, record labels will often say that in order to get any attention as a rock band, you need at least four people in the band and maybe sometimes three, but it’s rare. That was, of course, until the White Stripes showed how stupid that idea was when they made it big with just the two of them.
The same thing goes with the idea that in order for a solo artist to succeed, he or she must be the lead singer and certainly not the drummer.
As Fishman shows on his latest album, though, that’s complete idiocy.
For one, Fishman doesn’t sing on “End of Time,” but he does play a mean set of drums on each of the tracks to great effect. It also helps that he’s got two incredible vocalists on the album in Samantha Cram and Ryan Acquaotta. Their talent rivals any major-studio artists performing today, and they fit the album’s style perfectly.
The album also breaks from the norm in how it tells a story that follows a journey from the first song to the last and isn’t simply a collection of singles put together by name only. Each track tackles a serious subject, from accepting difficult feelings to what it’s like to face wrongful imprisonment, or why it’s dangerous to text and drive in the first single “End of Time.” It’s all presented in a heavy, industrial way that’s both mythical and also grounded in reality.
Fishman’s drumming also takes center stage on several tracks. My favorite song on the album is the one with his massive drum solo — “Final Distance to the Clock.” It borrows the guitar riff from the previous track before tearing into the haunting, guttural solo that you rarely hear these days, probably because it takes incredible talent to pull it off well, which Fishman most certainly does.
Even if you’re not a fan of metal or hard rock, I dare you to listen to his drumming and not find something to love.
Of the two singers, I’m probably more of a fan of Cram’s style, but, Acquaotta adds a more testosterone-laden feel to the album that sticks with you long after you hear the album.
There’s really not a bad track on the album. Some of my favorites along with the previously mentioned “Final Distance to the Clock” is “Voices Emerge,” “Omens” and “The End of Time.”
It should also be mentioned that a lot of the heavy lifting on the album falls on the shoulders of lead guitarist Alex Goldenthal. Goldenthal handles the solos with ease, and he accentuates the serious undertones of the songs in a way that only a master musician can do.
And really that’s representative of the entire album. It’s incredible artists making impressive art. If you’re a fan of bands like Evanescence or Five Finger Death Punch you’ll love Sam Fishman, or even if you’re just a fan of well-crafted music in general. And as previously mentioned, it’s good even if it’s not what traditionally a lot of people seem to expect from bands these days. That makes Fishman even cooler in my book.