Release Date: Jul 15, 2014
Record label: Interscope
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Post-Hardcore, Hardcore Punk, Punk Revival
After spending the last 12 years waging war against society's ills, Rise Against square up against their own inner struggles on their seventh album, Black Market. Rather than a rallying cry against the status quo, the album finds the band looking inwards, exploring the dark places they need to go to in order to create music meant to rally others to get fired up and take action. Writing about what makes them tick rather than what ticks them off, Rise Against offer up an album that feels more intimate than their past work.
It's been eight years since Rise Against's landmark record The Sufferer & The Witness, which was characterized by masterfully meshed pop-punk melody and hooks with hardcore fury and politically-conscious lyrics. Since then, they've made some pretty forgettable material, but on their seventh studio album, the Chicago quartet manages to take a few fresh steps lyrically. This time around, they have aimed their crosshairs at armchair activists and the Occupy movement in "A Beautiful Indifference," and get surprisingly introspective on tracks like "Methadone," which describes a crumbling relationship.
The cornerstone of good punk rock and hardcore, much like Festivus at the Costanza household, centers on the airing of grievances. And more often than not, the weightier the target of criticism, the richer the rewards. Rise Against are one band holding firm in the belief that it’s important for punk to stand for something real, and they’ve carried the torch for thoughtful, socially conscious punk rock for more than a decade.
The Rise Against of 2014 are very different band to the one that formed in 1999—they've cycled through a half-dozen guitarists, their music has noticeably become more melodic since those early days and they’ve become a Billboard charting band (2011’s Endgame hit No. 2 on that magazine's top 200) who have sold millions of records worldwide. Yet one listen to this seventh full-length and it’s clear that, despite those changes and successes, the heart, soul and intentions of the Chicago activist punks haven’t diminished in the slightest.