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Thomas Nassiff 02/28/11 02:31 AM

Rise Against - Endgame
 
Rise Against - Endgame
Record Label: Interscope/DGC
Release Date: March 15, 2011


During the bridge of "Architects," the opening track off Rise Against's latest record, Endgame, frontman Tim McIlrath sings, "Don't you remember when you were young / And you wanted to set the world on fire? / Somewhere deep down / I know you do." One interpretation of this line is that McIlrath is singing about someone who lost a passion or a fire that they had when they were younger.

Well, when Rise Against were younger, they played aggressive, desperate and earnest punk music. Beginning with The Unraveling, through Revolutions Per Minute and Siren Song of the Counter Culture, and then with The Sufferer and the Witness, Rise Against was one of the biggest punk bands on the planet. The last-mentioned of those records spawned a couple of big hits and led into Appeal to Reason, which saw the band taking on a more accessible feel. Meanwhile, the band grew bigger than ever, headlining a tour with Rancid, a band that McIlrath called "the best punk band in the world" at a show in Orlando, as support.

But with Rise Against's sixth studio album and second for DGC/Interscope, McIlrath and Co. seem as though they might have lost a bit of the passion or fire they had when they had more to prove. The record isn't bad, it's actually enjoyable. But the band has continued in its trend toward becoming more of a hard rock band and less of the punk icon it used to be. The moments where the band's traditional punk sound comes through are fewer and further in between than on any of their other releases.

On the opener, McIlrath's undeniably catchy vocals reel you in while lead guitarist Zach Blair shows off several memorable riffs. But the production is heavy, the bridge is predictable, and overall, while the song is good, it seems as though Rise Against could have written this song better a few years ago. After "Architects," listeners are introduced to lead single "Help Is On the Way," which comes across as one of the more bland tracks on Endgame. The intro riff is a bit weak and the verses are somewhat reminiscent of "Re-Education (Through Labor)" from Appeal to Reason. There isn't much to get excited about until the second half of the song, where McIlrath unleashes a few beastly screams in the bridge.

"Make It Stop (September's Children)" is perhaps the best example of how much this band has changed. A delayed guitar and a melody provided by a chorus of children kick the track off, and the song is carried by the imagery McIlrath provides in his lyricism. At this point in the record, if you can manage to get by the fact that Rise Against may not be the same band they used to be, the record will open itself up. Instead of a gimmick, this song becomes an example of the way that radio-ready rock music should be written.

Maybe there isn't a fist-pumping anthem like "Ready to Fall," and maybe there isn't a fire-breathing, mosh-inducing behemoth of a track like "State of the Union." But looking at songs like "Disparity By Design," "Broken Mirrors," and "A Gentleman's Coup," it's clear that this music isn't watered down or condensed in any way. Sure, it's more accessible, and it's certainly more mainstream and less aggressive, but this is what Rise Against is writing, and the band is writing this music at a high level. Every one of the songs mentioned has the characteristics of songs played on top 40 heavy rock radio stations, but they each come across as simply better than most of the condensed genre for a few reasons.

Nearly every track on Endgame fuses a catchy and memorable chorus with at least one part punk roots, making for a nice and even balance, however repetitive. McIlrath's lyricism is certainly still a strong point, and his vocals carry the record like they have carried previous Rise Against releases. Songs like "Midnight Hands" still bring blood-curling screams and others like "Wait for Me" and "This Is Letting Go" show that Rise Against can slow things down a little without becoming forgettable.

A lot of Rise Against fans probably hoped that Appeal to Reason was a stray away from the band's normal sound and that the group would return to form on Endgame. But rather than returning to their old form, the band solidifies an evolved style with this record. Rather than playing desperately, the band is proving that they deserve the attention they have been given. All bands grow up; punk bands won't play purely punk rock forever. It happens in all genres, and as musicians evolve so does their music. Listeners are lucky that Rise Against can still create a worthwhile and entertaining record while their music moves beyond its origins.

Recommended If You LikeAppeal to Reason
Follow Me On TwitterThe conversations I have with my Paper + Plastick coworkers are worth it.
Bare Essentials1. Architects
2. Help Is On The Way
3. Make It Stop (Septemberís Children)
4. Disparity By Design
5. Satellite
6. Midnight Hands
7. Survivor Guilt
8. Broken Mirrors
9. Wait For Me
10. A Gentlemenís Coup
11. This Is Letting Go
12. Endgame
Produced By: Bill Stevenson
Star Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
AP.net Profile

simplejack 02/28/11 03:28 AM

That Architects bridge line you mentioned is exactly the same from Against Me!'s I Was Teenage Anarchist's chorus: "Do you remember when you were young and you wanted to set the world on fire?".
By the way, I'm excited to hear a new Rise Against record, I haven't enjoyed ATR as a whole like I did with TS&TW, but most of it.

Bradalee21 02/28/11 03:49 AM

I'm a huge Rise Against fan, have been for years. But i was very disappointed with Appeal to Reason as an album. Save a few stand out tracks such all re-ecucation through labour and collapse (which i love) the alubm is bland and boring. So i was hoping that endgame would see them at least partially return to their old sound.

Then i heard the single, and oh my it was dreadful. It has to be the most boring song the band have ever recorded. Architects is a bit better, but its still just 'ok'. Looks like this album will be given a miss im afraid.

Chemical Love 02/28/11 04:04 AM

Bummed that this is another hard rock and boring Rise Against album.

HardcoreCracker 02/28/11 04:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bradalee21 (Post 85871062)
I'm a huge Rise Against fan, have been for years.


I agree with everything you said up to that point. I loved Appeal to Reason, as a band grows and gets older you have to accept change and unlike some bands, this change was a good one.

Back to the point I was originally going to make; THIS REVIEW IS MAKING ME EXCITED XD XD XD

Mario57 02/28/11 04:17 AM

I liked Appeal To Reason but i wanted them to release a faster and more agressive album again, it's a shame.
I guess they have more "punk" bsides in stock, anyway i want to hear this album.

Korben Dallas 02/28/11 04:18 AM

I hated Appeal to Reason

Bradalee21 02/28/11 04:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by HardcoreCracker (Post 85871211)
I agree with everything you said up to that point. I loved Appeal to Reason, as a band grows and gets older you have to accept change and unlike some bands, this change was a good one


Oh i have no problem with bands growing and changing their style over time, its what good bands do. I'm just saying this change isnt one i like personally, it seems to lack energy and conviction to me.

xapplexpiex 02/28/11 04:25 AM

Huh. I might give this a listen. I loved Appeal to Reason.

suicidalmoose 02/28/11 04:52 AM

there's not much to discuss about Rise Against, I think most people agree with what happened - until Sufferer and the Witness they made epic punk songs (I was happy); from Appeal to Reason they did good/very good radio-rock songs (and then I was sad).

what shocked and disappointed a lot of people was the abrupt change. Many bands get softer and softer over time, while these guys did it very abruptly. That's why, I think, many people (like me), had a littie bit of hope that they would return to their punk sound on Endgame. but I guess that will never happen. what a waste :-(

tuxiboy 02/28/11 05:08 AM

So aren't there any fast paced songs at all?

Good review, btw..

slowmotion90 02/28/11 05:14 AM

Not surprised that this will sound like ATR. But come on, they get older, their music progresses. It was clear, that this album will be radio friendly. I hope it is catchy and I hope it has good melodic parts in it while having some "hard" parts which show their punk roots.

HardcoreCracker 02/28/11 05:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bradalee21 (Post 85871341)
Oh i have no problem with bands growing and changing their style over time, its what good bands do. I'm just saying this change isnt one i like personally, it seems to lack energy and conviction to me.


You're feeling what I felt when I heard Taking Back Sunday's New Again. That album was terrible in comparison with Louder Now and their previous albums

Loyaltabk 02/28/11 05:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by simplejack (Post 85870952)
That Architects bridge line you mentioned is exactly the same from Against Me!'s I Was Teenage Anarchist's chorus: "Do you remember when you were young and you wanted to set the world on fire?".
By the way, I'm excited to hear a new Rise Against record, I haven't enjoyed ATR as a whole like I did with TS&TW, but most of it.


I Was A Teenage Anarchist, exactly what I thought of when reading this line. also, disappointed that ths release isn't held in high regard.

LivingTheLyrics 02/28/11 05:29 AM

I personally feel like Appeal to Reason was a classic case of Rise Against being burned by their own torch, so to speak. There were some fantastic, stand-out tracks throughout that album, even if there was a dud or two. I feel like if it had been the debut album for any other band without their reputation, it would have been better received, as in my mind the problem is that while they were good songs, they did not feel like Rise Against songs in any way other than the presence of Tim's voice. With the lighter nature taken on much of the record, Barnes' drums and Principe's bass lines took a much more reserved feel then on Sufferer and so-on and everything before it. Add on newcomer Zach Blair's guitar style, which was a stark difference from that of former guitarist Chris Chasse, and you have a very different beast. Personally, I really enjoyed it.

Really good review, I can't wait to get my hands on this one.