Rise Against

DGC, 2011


REVIEW BY: Paul Hanson


If you like The Offspring, you’re really going to like the latest from Rise Against.

The music, the lyrical cynicism, and serious themes that pepper The Offspring's catalog of material are all present here. About all that is missing from this release is a goofy song like "Pretty Fly For A White Guy" or "Why Don't You Get A Job." Other than that, this is very similar material to The Offspring. If you like them, fantastic; otherwise, this may not be the album for you.

Vocalist/guitarist Tim McIlrath kicks off "Architects" with a frantic pace and the obligatory f-word to make it a non-radio-friendly track. His vocal style draws you into his message and he doesn't sing off-key. The radio-friendly track "Help Is On the Way" follows and my local rock stations have been playing the song daily. The lyrics that begin the song -- "I have my mother's dreams / I have my father's eyes / you can't take that from me / Just go ahead and try" -- are both engaging and confrontational, and lead into repeating the theme "You can't take that from me / Just go ahead and try." What I like about this track is the way the backing vocals of bassist Joe Principie, drummer Brandon Barnes, and guitarist Zach Blair all complement McIlrath's message.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

By the time you get to "Disparity By Design" and "Satellite,” you will feel like this is either a hit-or-miss release. "Satellite" in particular features Barnes' snare drum propelling the song's tempo. McIlrath sings, "We'll sneak out / While they sleep / And sail off in the night / We'll come clean / And start over / The rest of our lives." When he sings these lyrics, the music slips into a half-time feel without the snare propelling the beat before reintroducing the faster tempo with Principie's bass providing a tight groove. I hope this song is the release's next single. The multiple vocal lines sound excellent.

"This Is Letting Go" is the eleventh track, but would have easily been the best choice to open this release. It is yet another strong candidate to saturate rock radio. The lyrics are compelling when McIlrath sings, "Out with the old / Dreams I've borrowed / The path I carve from here on out will be my own / This path will be my own" as he says goodbye to the old ideals of others that used to guide me and hello to my own ideals that will guide me further in my life. It's an inspirational song when you are going through a touch-and-go part of life.

At the end of the title track, the single adjective that comes through for me is heartfelt. Like my other favorite bands Count The Stars, Bayside, and Spitafield, Rise Against doesn't hold back. McIlrath confronts his life with confidence. That confidence comes through writing songs that I can listen to repeatedly.

Rating: B

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© 2011 Paul Hanson and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of DGC, and is used for informational purposes only.