Rise Against is a melodic hardcore band that formed in 1999 and has since gone through many changes. From its days in Chicago’s underground scene to a cornerstone of infamous punk label fat wreck chords to present day, Rise Against has been around the block.
All of this experience has helped them to write their latest and perhaps most ambitious album “Appeal to Reason.”
One of the most interesting facets of “Appeal to reason” is the fact that the album doesn’t ever feel formulaic. While there is still that Rise Againststyle of playing fast and hard with gang chant vocals in the background, the band itself has taken a unique approach, in general, for this album. “We took the same approach to this record as we’ve done to our previous record, which is actually a lack of approach. There’s no approach it’s just show up and let’s play,” said frontman Tim Mcllrath.
Each song on “Appeal to Reason” seems to be written in this way without them ever feeling like they had a predetermined formula that the band should follow.
This made the album very enjoyable for the sheer fact that it feels natural, pure and not over thought.
In terms of production, the album feels much different than previous Rise Against recordings.
Past albums like “The Sufferer and The Witness” seemed to put a lot of emphasis on deeper sounds whether it was on the bass guitar or the drums, but this album is quite different in that regard.
All of the instrumentation feels much more balanced without anything feeling over-the-top. Bill Stevenson, former drummer of the hardcore punk band Black Flag and producer of “Appeal to Reason,” seems to have reinforced the traditional punk rock “wall of sound” approach to Rise Against and it pays great dividends to a band whose strengths are playing hard and fast.
Lyrically, the album touches on many of the social issues that Rise Against has been concerned with for quite some time.
From protection of the environment to the war in Iraq, the band has focused their songwriting to bring to light these issues, but the band does not preach any opinions through their songs.
One song in particular titled “Hero of War” is very interesting in terms of its lyrics.
The sole acoustic track on the album, “Hero of War” reflects on three different soldiers’ accounts and their experiences in Iraq.
Some of these accounts described in the song are true circumstances sent in emails to the band from actual soldiers adding a new depth to the song.
The only let down with “Appeal to Reason” has been the fact that the album can have a way of feeling repetitive at times.
This stems mainly from the album just having too many songs on it.
If the album ended with its tenth track, “Hero of War”, it would have felt more complete and balanced.
While the later tracks on the album are entertaining, they just don’t seem to fit the mold and consistent nature of the previous 10 and just feel unnecessary. Since most of the songs on the album are quick and hard hitting, it would just make more sense if it ended somewhat abruptly leaving you to think about all of the important things that were being expressed in such a short time.
“Appeal to Reason” is a loud and in your face type of album with great production and song writing.
If you want to listen to something that’s serious and deals with many of the issues that are in the world today then you should definitely check it out.
Rise Against has a lot to say and despite it feeling a bit too long. Their latest album deserves some attention.
Peter J. Smith is a fourth-year student majoring in english. He can be reached at PS683072@wcupa.edu