A sharp effort from the Chicago based band Rise Against proves both intelligent and hard-nosed, making for a good album with a lot to say from a band that isn’t afraid to say it.
Rise Against is a band out of the Windy City that provides a crisp hard rock/punk sound with relevant lyrics, powerful vocals, tight and precise guitar work, and intense drumming. Their 5th studio album, “Appeal to Reason,” is a motivated effort and it’s evident that this band isn’t like a lot of others in the Punk-Rock Genre these days. Rise Against actually has something to say.
The album strikes a chord on the first song, and briskly proceeds toward the end with intensity and great fervor. Each song is individual, and with this band, it’s actually possible to understand the lead singer when he’s belting out the lyrics. Most bands of a similar genre seem to want to go too fast where their songs lose their meaning, or too slow where they sell out and start neglecting a fan base that supported them for years. This band never loses focus on “Appeal to Reason,” as the album progresses, it evolves.
Most fans might recognize their latest effort as a hint that the band might be going more mainstream, but as to that I say “Who cares?” The band hasn’t lost any of their musical or lyrical potency, and they aren’t trying to pretend to be something they are not. Being a little more mainstream doesn’t exactly equal a sell-out.
The sum is actually greater than its parts. They are above average musicians who do what they do well. And that’s commendable. They play their style of music well, and with “Appeal to Reason” they show a nice change of pace throughout the entire album.
They speak on topics like the War in Iraq and the environment. Most members of the band themselves are members of PETA, and the album comes with an insert for the organization. Now, most of the time, this would fall into the “smack you in the face with what we believe” umbrella, but here, it’s completely harmless. They aren’t pressuring you to join, or to even agree with their beliefs. They are putting an that you can look at or discard at your own discretion into a CD case. And it doesn’t take away from the music, which is why you bought the CD in the first place. Probably. Unless you’re a poser.
They have a political mind and orientation and their newest album strengthens that resolve. They are familiar with what’s going on in the world and want to say something about it. And the way they do so, forgive me for saying so, is leaps and bounds better than the way Green Day says it (which is in such an obvious way it’s like being slammed in the face with a wrench.) It’s a political album without ONLY being a political rock album, something some of their counterparts could really take notice of. You can be important without being self-important. You can say something without saying too much.
The album is sharp, focused, and says something. Rise Against might think twice about going any more mainstream than they did this time around, but they shouldn’t fear where they are with this album. They’re in a good place, and they’re a band I look forward to seeing at Lollapalooza this year.
Score: 6.5/10 (Good)