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If there’s one thing that Rise Against is good at, it’s being perpetually vehemently pissed off. You’d think with a growing fanbase and selling tens of thousands of albums they would have some happiness in their lives, but no. They always find something to complain about. That’s also why this writer can relate to them.
In their new album, the ominously named “Endgame”, vocalist Tim McIlrath describes himself as an “orphan of the American dream”. Melodramatic much?
There are two types of Punk music out there nowadays. The first which rebels against the system and the second which is basically regular pop songs sung at twice the speed. Rise Against’s new album is a bit of both. From the minute the loud guitar riffs of “Architects” welcome you to the album; it sort of sparks a rebellious flame inside.
Rise Against’s sound has evolved in this album. To old fans this will sound a bit alien. It’s a much lighter sound than the grittiness that their previous albums such as “The Sufferer and The Witness” accustomed us to. There are some clear grunge influences (such as in the song “Midnight Hands”). It takes a little getting used to.
Rise Against’s niche is singing songs that have messages. They do their best to highlight the problems that plague the world. From questioning why a soldier had to die in “Survivor’s Guilt” to inspiring an uprising on “A Gentlemen’s Coup” to showing us the lower class angst on “Disparity by Design”, the combination of McIlrath’s intensity and the blaring guitar riff driven music send a thoughtful shot of adrenaline into your system.
The stand out point for me though, is the brilliant “Make It Stop (September’s Children)”; a song taking aim at bullying and a plea to stop before more children end their lives through frustration and violence. “And too much blood has flowed from the wrists; of the children shamed for those they chose to kiss”
There are flaws in the album. For example : when the customary half-way slow-down in the song “Architects” arrives, it sounds like McIlrath is trying to win back his girlfriend rather then send a true message. Since punk is sung at twice the speed of other songs, some of the songs such as “Wait for Me” overstay their welcome.
“Endgame” is a rarity. It is an intelligent album. Something the music industry needs more of. It has a solid message for all willing to listen. It’s a very good album. The only thing missing though, is that little magic spark. That little magic spark which turns a good album into a great album, an album that will stand the test of time. But it’s still a very good album.
Final rating: 8/10
We apologize for the incredibly lame post. Exams still aren't over. Once we're back we'll get back to making what people voted for happen. New writers and Places That Suck are a few things to look forward to next month.
That Guy and minimum unwanted interference from Bad Ideas
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