Release Date: Mar 15, 2011
Record label: Geffen
Rise Against's mastery of anthemic punk rock is second only to their mastery of being pissed off. On the Chicago band's sixth album, Tim McIlrath is an "orphan of the American dream," heraldically ranting about environmental collapse, economic inequality, teen suicide and other unanswerable evils atop the mix of Bad Religion hardcore, metal-guitar action and modern-rock balladry that's evolved into a platinum-plated formula (Endgame is the third R.A. disc produced by Bill Stevenson of pop-punk legends the Descendents).
‘Endgame’ is bona fide awesomeness. Given the amount of truly memorable, treasured songs they’ve written in their career, it almost seems odd that this is only Rise Against’s sixth album. They’re very much ensconced as venerable veterans. Having notched three Gold-certified albums in the US since leaving Fat Wreck for a major label, the Chicago quartet have never compromised in terms of lyrical or musical style and integrity.
Considering quite how brilliant their early albums were, that Chicagoan punk trailblazers [a]Rise Against[/a]’s latter-period output is seen as diminishing returns is a trifle unfair. While [b]‘Endgame’[/b] is no [b]‘Revolutions Per Minute’[/b] – their ’03 high-water mark – it’s still a hugely exhilarating album. They’ve grown up, too: fiery opener [b]‘Architects’[/b] and [b]‘Survivor Guilt’[/b] show they do pissed-off intelligence better than most; [b]‘Help Is On The Way’[/b] and the colossal [b]‘This Is Letting Go’[/b] strike the perfect balance between punk fury and melodic accessibility without losing any of frontman Tim McIlrath’s personality.
Review Summary: Rise Against deliver another appeal to reason, but is there a savior listening?The fourth largest earthquake ever recorded strikes a major economic power... A subsequent tsunami devastates a city and has others on major alert... The world awaits for fear of a Chernobyl like nuclear meltdown. It sounds like the plot of a disaster movie...
Pounding out Metallica-size riffs and hammering cowbells, and occasionally lurching to a crawl, Chicago quartet Rise Against toggle between arena-metal overkill and anthemic Bad Religion-style punk. Endgame, rife with doomsday images, plays to both the band’s strengths (shout-from-the-rooftops melodies) and weaknesses (a flair for the melodramatic). Fortunately, singer Tim McIlrath’s vein-popping zeal keeps things on course.
Tim McIlrath wants your attention. He makes this clear on the first track of Endgame when he sings “And don’t you remember when we were young / And we wanted to set the world on fire? / Because I still am and I still do”. Upon listening to “Architects”, Endgame’s blistering opener, you might get the impression that Rise Against is headed back in the direction that turned them into frontrunners of the punk scene earlier this past decade.
Following in the footsteps of the wildly successful Appeal to Reason, Rise Against deliver another blast of driving, politically charged, melodic hardcore with Endgame. While their sound isn’t as fiery as it used to be, the band has dialed up the intensity with their message, telling a tale of an America that’s been through one disaster after another, and the kind of world that we might be able to find on the other side of the darkness, providing listeners with a rallying cry to get up and do something about the world if they don’t like the way it is. Musically, Rise Against are as solid as ever, but this time around, it feels like a lot of the heavy lifting is being done by singer Tim McIlrath.
Rise Against has been a thriving force in Chicago-based punk rock for just over a decade. Well beyond their humble fast-paced Fat Wreck Chords beginnings and fresh off 2008’s chart-punching, heart-wrenching Appeal to Reason, this act knows how to market abrasive commentary circa-Revolutions Per Minute that never loses weight in the production values or melody. Endgame is inherently the follow-through of its predecessor, with additional flavors that may or may not help the cause lyrically prevalent.
Sure, it may have sold half a million copies, but Rise Against’s Appeal To Reason was, in our humble opinion, a dud. The album was a slow, lumbering affair that seemingly betrayed the band’s natural melodic-hardcore predilections for a stronger chance at appealing to the Rock On The Range crowd. Obviously it worked, since the band are bigger than ever (and have punk legends like Rancid and Bad Religion opening for them), but we entered Endgame with a healthy dose of skepticism.
Windy City militants return with predictions of a hard rain soon to fall. Ian Winwood 2011 Perhaps the fundamental question when it comes to modern punk rock is this: what exactly is the artist intending to achieve? Usually, it’s one of two things – either to question authority and at least to attempt to unnerve the ruling class, or else it’s simply to play pop songs at a speed in contravention of sensible limits. To their credit, Chicago’s Rise Against manage to place a foot in both of these camps.