Rise Against’s upcoming album, Endgame, appeals emphatically to our ears, our hearts and our minds much more than their previous album, Appeal To Reason, was able to do so. We found ourselves replaying the 12 tracks off of the album more often than we usually do for highly praised tunes. Why you might ask? Well, we were contemplating the same thought for some time until it hit us head on.
Endgame‘s poetical lyrics have our minds scrambling for more clues and its instrumental rifts accompanied by intricate melodies have our hearts yearning for more beats. The mind plus the heart commands the ears to want to hear just a bit more. And there you have it. Rise Against’s, Endgame, has the ability to make our body do things that our minds simply cannot understand. Talk about an album comprised of pure strength.
Rise Against’s collection of albums gained the rock band early success in 2000. Tracks off of Appeal to Reason, The Sufferer and the Witness and Siren Song for the Counterculture laid down a golden road of stability. And vocalist/guitarist Tim McIlarth, bassist Joe Principe, drummer Brandon Barnes and guitarist Zach Blair have repaved this road with a new genre of music that proves to be much more profound than songs of comfort. And that genre is politically passionate alternative rock. Phew, what a mouth full.
We normally don’t play favorites. Usually it is just a top vocal track, a top lyrical track and a top instrumental track of an album. But Rise Against’s, Endgame, has compelled us to have that teacher’s pet or should we say album’s pet. The lead track off of Endgame, “Architects,” has a fast-paced tempo and upbeat vocals that reel you in right from the start. But the track loosens the grip on the beat, once the chorus takes hold. McIlarth sings, “Do you still believe in all the things that you stood by before? Are you up there on the frontlines? or at home keeping score? And do you care to be the layer of the bricks that seal your fate? Or would you rather be the architect of what we might create?” The savvy and poetic lyrics bring out the best in McIlarth’s infectious voice and in the band’s precisely chopped instrumental sounds.
With tracks, “Satellite” “Midnight Hands” and “Wait For Me,” Rise Against allows us to relieve our itch to listen to slower paced vocals of McIlarth. The transition from the sex appeal sounds of his voice to the punk rock instrumental beats of Rise Against piece together like a fairy tale. Aspiring rock bands should take note of this talent. A track does not have to immediately dive into the dominated beat of the song; sometimes a little introduction is undeniably necessary, especially when sung by McIlarth.
Another awesome track comprised of an introduction, body and conclusion format is “Make It Stop (September’s Children).” The lingering intro, “Woah, Woah,” sucks you pleasantly right in. More intriguing than the structure of the song is the meaning behind it. The track draws attention to homophobia, which was brought on by the wave of gay teen suicides. It is truly impressive for a rock band to address this issue in such an honorable and compassionate way. Rise Against opened a new door of love that we hope other rockers will cross through without looking back.
Now that we have wiped the tear from eye, lets discuss the catchy track, “This Is Letting Go.” The song showcases the long, but worthy road Rise Against has had in the music industry. The band’s ability to mix what appears to be two distinct tempos of vocals and instrumentals proves that Rise Against is not on the same playing level as those alterative rock bands who provide predictable tracks.
Rise Against is at a new beginning with their sixth album, Endgame, which drops March 15th via DGC/Interscope. The Chicago-based punk group radiates maturity and they unquestionably own it. It takes more than a music gift to compose songs of philosophical lyrics and riveting tempos. Rise Against has that indefinable trait that causes other groups to cave underneath their been there, done that shoes.
by Lonnie Nemiroff