Release Date: Jun 9, 2017
Record label: Virgin
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Post-Hardcore, Hardcore Punk, Punk Revival, Punk-Pop
A band as politically progressive as Rise Against were never going to take recent swerves further to the right in the US lying down, and the opening title track of their eighth album is a powerful call-to-arms that immediately places them at the peak of their ire: 'We are the wolves at the gates, our number growing every day, but you can't fight us all. ' Their strength is in their inclusivity - yes, they're from a punk background, but this is melodic hardcore with killer choruses to stir the hardest of hearts, bursting with a positive energy that channels your adrenaline until passive listening becomes all but impossible. If this is the end of the world, as they suggest in a furious Welcome To The Breakdown, at least we're going down swinging.
ROCKS LIKE: Anti-Flag, Alkaline Trio, Green Day Donald Trump wasn't president when Rise Against started writing their eighth album Wolves, but they were in the studio when he was elected. While the band have always kicked against the pricks, having biggest prick of all sitting in the Oval Office greatly energized the Chicago politipunks. You can hear that rage burning throughout this record's 11 songs, most notably on "Mourning In Amerika," "Welcome To The Breakdown" and the untamed aggression of "Bullshit," on which frontman Tim McIlrath rails against the divisive politics that sadly led us to an orange man in the White House.
Rise Against are fighting back with their eighth album. Can protest songs really change the world? In an era where the news resembles dystopian fiction and a misogynistic reality TV star has his own nuclear arsenal, it's easy to doubt music's power to make a difference. But Rise Against have never wavered in that belief, and never will. One of punk's few great constants, the Chicago four-piece are back and as furious as ever with this eighth album.
If you subtract arena-fillers like Green Day and Blink-182 from the equation, Rise Against likely becomes the biggest punk band in America. They've long since eclipsed '90s icons like Rancid, NOFX and Bad Religion in popularity (having three consecutive Gold records will do that), and when you put their catalog up against the similarly sized Offspring, it's an easy pick. (I mean, do you ever want to hear "Cruisin' California (Bumpin' In My Trunk)" again? I didn't think so.) However, at some point, popularity becomes a punk band's biggest downfall.
If you thought one of rock's most idealistic and politically earnest bands might just take a pop at their country's new peroxide blonde idiot-in-chief on their new record then you'd be 100% correct. In fact, the election of Donald Trump could not have come at a better time for these four Chicagoan stadium punks who were in real danger of losing their capacity to rage. The Obama years were not kind to Rise Against.