Rise Against “Appeal to Reason”
“Appeal to Reason”
Rise Against have returned with another record teeming with fist pumping, adrenaline-fueled melodic hardcore, but this time the emphasis is clearly on the melody. You’d think that with all the crap going on in the world today, a band as relevant as Rise Against would be spewing lyrics vicious enough to stir up riots, but instead singer Tim McIlrath is using his voice to actually sing rather than snarl – what a concept?
Fans of Bad Religion are going to love this record. The guitars are slick and punchy, the three-part harmonies are everywhere, and the songs are really catchy. The most aggressive thing on “Appeal to Reason” is Joe Principe’s volatile bass playing, which has always been the backbone of the band.
“From Heads Unworthy” is one of the best tracks on the record, spotlighting the elegant tag team between Principe and McIlrath. The guitars know exactly when to pull back and emphasize the low end and vocals. “I’m after you,” McIlrath cries out full force with guitars blazing.
Other more aggressive tunes like “Re-Education (Through Labor)” and “The Strength to Go On” are vintage Rise Against, albeit without the old school vocal roar that helped usher in the now deceased screamo era. “Hero of War” is the acoustic track on the record. It is what it is – a nice showcase of Tim’s amazing voice and storytelling.
So what’s wrong with “Appeal to Reason”? Not a whole heck of a lot, but it is coming off the band’s greatest record ever, “The Sufferer and the Witness.” That album was a near flawless flow of aggression, groove, drive, and intensity. I can’t find a song on the new release that comes close to “Drones” or “Worth Dying For,” though the band tries their best. That said, “Appeal to Reason” is a fine addition to the Rise Against cannon, a must for fans of the band or anyone who still digs late ’90s punk rock. I look forward to seeing how hard the band kicks out these new jams live.
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