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Rise Against - Appeal to Reason Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 9
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 8.5
Production 8.5
Creativity 7.5
Lasting Value 8.5
Reviewer Tilt 8.75
Final Verdict: 85%
Member Ratings
Vocals 7.88
Musicianship 7.46
Lyrics 7.54
Production 7.38
Creativity 6.83
Lasting Value 7.71
Reviewer Tilt 7.04
Average: 74%
Inside AP.net

Rise Against - Appeal to Reason

Reviewed by: SwiftSilentDead (10/11/08)
Rise Against - Appeal to Reason
Record Label: Geffen Records
Release Date: October 7, 2008 (USA)


Rise Against have made a huge name for themselves in both the mainstream and the underground music scenes ever since their debut. They are considered one of the most successful punk bands of the new millennium with their sophomore album, Revolutions Per Minute, regarded as a classic among many punk fans. Most of the band's mainstream success came from their last two albums, Siren Song of the Counter Culture and The Sufferer & The Witness. One thing certain is that every album they released has been solid and they look to continue this streak with their fifth studio album, Appeal To Reason. Rise Against's sound has been increasingly melodic with each release and this album is no different; their sound is heavily influenced by 90's-era Bad Religion rather than most of their hardcore influences resulting in the band's sound being catchy as ever.

Appeal To Reason's overall sound is very similar to The Sufferer & The Witness with very melodic punk songs powered by fast verses, ear-grabbing choruses, fantastic melodies, and politically conscious lyrics. A few things have been tweaked a bit, one being that this is a very vocal-heavy record. Singer/guitarist Tim McIlrath's vocals stand out a lot more than they did in the past. His voice seems to be the main focus of this record as his singing soars right through all of the other instruments, which is what makes Rise Against stand out among other punk bands. His singing has also become much more melodic on this record, for the better. The rhythm section is as tight as ever, most notably bassist Joe Principe, as he provides some excellent bass lines. New guitarist, Zach Blair also provides some nice leads and riffs, filling the hole that former guitarist Chris Chasse left. Drummer Brandon Barnes does a solid job behind the kit, as always. The production of this album is also great as producer Bill Stevenson (Descendents, Black Flag) shows why he is one of the best producers in the industry.

The strongest songs on this album are the faster ones, which can be described as a combination of the fan-favorite Revolutions Per Minute and their last album, The Sufferer & The Witness. The faster songs combine the aggression and energy of RPM while combining it with the melody and catchiness of Sufferer, with more emphasis on the latter album. Perfect examples are the album's opener, "Collapse (Post-Amerika)" and "Kotov Syndrome." The latter features one of the best breakdowns/bridges the band have ever done, complimented by a wonderful lead by Blair and McIlarth's cries of "Set us free!" Some of the poppy songs are gems as well, most notably the brilliant "The Dirt Whispered" and the addictive "Savior." Both songs are more up-tempo than the rest of the album and have different qualities which make them stand out, "The Dirt Whispered" being ridiculously catchy and "Savior" having wonderful gang vocals at the end of the chorus and a driving melody. "Hairline Fracture" is another fast-paced song which really stands out with the aid of great backing vocals in the chorus.

A few songs in the middle of the record is a point where Rise Against begins to stumble a bit. They all are good songs but they lack the punch that all of the stand out tracks have. "From Heads Unworthy" is the strongest out of them, thanks to McIlarth having some great vocal lines in the bridge where his voice sounds better than ever. "The Strength To Go One" is a little too bland and "Audience of One" sounds like it could be a mainstream radio hit, but there's nothing stellar about this track aside from some of the lyrics. "Entertainment" picks up the pace a bit and features an odd circus-style breakdown which sounds out of place. The biggest question mark comes on the acoustic protest song, "Hero Of War." This song can either be considered epic or terrible depending on how you look at it. Some of the lyrics are cringe-worthy and the cliché concept of someone enlisting to join the army and face all of the hardships of war has been done many times before. Thankfully, it's followed by the aforementioned, "Savior" which carries out the rest of the record nicely except the closer, "Whereabouts Unknown" sounds like it could have been so much more, but it's still a solid finish to the record.

Rise Against maintains their streak of releasing one solid album after another with Appeal To Reason. The band might be criticized for being more "accessible" now, but it's been that way ever since Siren Song of the Counter Culture was released so that claim isn't new. Being accessible isn't necessarily a bad thing for some punk bands. Some of Bad Religion’s best records came from their more accessible years. Appeal To Reason is far from being Rise Against's best work, but it does have some of their best songs and it is a very enjoyable record. Many fans of the band may see themselves listening to it frequently in years to come.

Recommended if You LikeStrike Anywhere's Dead FM; Strung Out's Blackhawks Over Los Angeles; Bad Religion's The Gray Race
 
Displaying posts 1 - 5 of 5
10:49 AM on 10/20/08
#2
DejaMe
It's a funny thing this life.
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Nice review...It really gives me a good idea what this album sounds like....I know what to expect from this one but I can't wait to finally hear it for myself!
06:21 AM on 10/28/08
#3
Steve16
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Far too high rating and I don't agree with the recommended if you like at all for this album. This is dull almost radio rock more than likely inflicted on the band by Geffen. Maybe I'm wrong and this is what the band wanted to write but if so that's even more disappointing. There's about 2/3 songs worth having and the rest should have been cut and recorded some different songs. Don't even get me started on 'Hero of War' I nearly tossed the CD out of the car window in disgust when that first came on. There was Swing Life Away and then Roadside but this takes it to a whole new level of shit.

Rise Against used to be one of my favourite bands but seriously what the fuck is this album?
11:00 PM on 11/17/08
#4
the best zombie
when all else fails...learn to fall
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Far too high rating and I don't agree with the recommended if you like at all for this album. This is dull almost radio rock more than likely inflicted on the band by Geffen. Maybe I'm wrong and this is what the band wanted to write but if so that's even more disappointing. There's about 2/3 songs worth having and the rest should have been cut and recorded some different songs. Don't even get me started on 'Hero of War' I nearly tossed the CD out of the car window in disgust when that first came on. There was Swing Life Away and then Roadside but this takes it to a whole new level of shit.

Rise Against used to be one of my favourite bands but seriously what the fuck is this album?


Steve, I completey understand what you are saying; however, I do not agree with you. I have listened to Rise Against for the longest time and have to say I pretty much have fallen in love with all of their albums and skated to their music throughout my high school career. I do however agree with you in the "Swing Life Away" being crap. It really is, I don't know why people like it, it's just a sad excuse for a ballad and their video was even worse to that song. "Savior" is probably my favorite song on their cd. I'm pretty sure you hate it, since they aren't as "hardcore" in this cd as in some other albums, but you have to get over that. Bands change, evolve, progress; you have to grow up and learn to either respect their decision or at least critisize them for their songs. Not because maybe you don't like the way they sound now. Even so, you have a point, I just don't agree is all. They have been throwing out good albums and they haven't stopped. Maybe not every song on the album is good in all their cd's, but what I love about them is that most of their songs are either good or better.
07:29 PM on 11/30/08
#5
RelientMayday
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Good review. Personnally, my favorite songs are "From Heads Unworthy", "Entertainment", and "Re-Education (Through Labor)". The weakest point for me was "Kotov Syndrome". It's not a bad song, it's just not as good as the others. You can only yell "Spin out of control" so many times before you tire the listener out.

Personnally one of my favorite albums. But that's just me
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