I hadn’t planned on getting Rise Against’s latest album Endgame because I was generally not impressed with its predecessor 2009’s Appeal to Reason. Then I saw the amazingly moving video for the song “Make It Stop (September’s Children)” and decided to give the album a listen. I’m really glad that I did too.
Endgame opens with “Architects,” an excellently catchy melodic hardcore number that perfectly sets the stage for the rest of the record. One thing for me that I love about this song is the distinctive voice of Chad Price (ALL, Drag the Rive) on backing vocals. You really can’t go wrong when Mr. Price is on a record. The rest of Endgame is a mix of melodic hardcore, emo, and post hardcore and sounds like a record made by guys who grew up listening to the likes on Minor Threat, Dag Nasty, Bad Religion, Fugazi, Youth of Today, and Refused. There are times that lead singer Tim McIlrath breaks into some serious screamo-esque screaming (admittedly I could do without those). The music is tight and melodic—Zach Blair’s guitar work is top-notch. Lyrically the record deals with discrimination, our broken economic system, guilt, and equality. To say that Rise Against have a left wing bent to them would be an understatement. That having been said, they don’t beat you over the head with their ideology (or McIlrath’s ideology to be more accurate seeing as he writes all of the lyrics). Being someone who is a liberal but finds himself at odds often with the modern left wing, there isn’t anything in Rise Against’s music that I find as extreme or socialist/communist (which are often the words hurled at those who are left of center). Based on what I have heard and the interviews that I have read, McIlrath is someone who believes in individuality, independence, and justice for all. As far as I’m concerned, those are things that we should all believe in.
I’ve enjoyed Endgame enough to want to give Appeal to Reason another listen. It seems that Rise Against is a band that is growing on me. Obviously I’m a little late to this game since they are one of the biggest bands in punk rock. If you are a fan of any of the aforementioned bands or bands like Against Me!, Black Flag, or Hot Water Music then I suggest you give Endgame a listen.