Rise Against - Appeal to Reason.
Rise Against is a band that never ceases to impress me. There 2004 major label debut, Siren Songs for the Counter Culture, was, for a lot of people, the album that caught my attention of the band. The album, despite being on a major label, held a lot of the bands original appeal while refreshing it for no holds barred album. Their follow-up, The Sufferer and The Witness, did the same, but increasing the melodic appeal and bringing out more intricate guitar work. Their 2008 release, Appeal to Reason, is the follow-up to The Sufferer and The Witness and again shows the band is not far from slowing down. Beautiful from start to finish, the album is undoubtedly one of the best albums of the year.
Collapse (Post Amerika) - The album's opening track, it is a strong summary of what to expect for the rest of the album. It maintains that original Rise Against sound while keeping itself fresh and pumping up the listener for what to come.
Long Forgotten Sons - The song slows the album down a bit, but maintains it's appeal. A perfect sing along at concerts, Mcllrath shows off his impressive lyrical boundaries which he continues to do so the rest of the album.
Re-Education (Through Labor) - The harbinger of the album, this song is nothing short of awesome. With a great message and awesome instrumental to follow, this song is a perfect summary of what this album's all about.
The Dirt Whispered - The most pop-punk sounding song on the entire album, this song's bright appeal keeps the listener interested and chorus is catchy and fun to sing along to.
Kotov Syndrome - Returning to the heavier sound, this song has a great sing along chant line for audience shout while rocking out. The solo also has an interesting turn that makes this song stronger and more of an individual track.
From Head Unworthy - Another chanter, this song shows a slow guitar pattern that makes it more interesting and offers those more used to the original sound of Rise Against more variety. Another good track.
The Strength To Go On - The band shows a talent for changing tempos dramatically throughout an individual song. The song starts out slow and loud, then picks on the pace, slows down, then picks up again while maintaining a catchy appeal.
Audience Of One - Another lighter song, the slow intro makes the track stand out already. The more personal lyrical content is a good change of pace from all the politically driven tracks that it followed and will come after.
Entertainment - A more socially driven track, the band speaks out against the entertainment industry. Instantly a stand out track, the guitar work and circus-like breakdown make this one of the most interesting tracks on the album.
Hero Of War - An slow acoustic track, the lyrical content is about a young man joining the military, his experiences in Iraq and coming home a "hero of war". A beautiful track and another stand out. One of the best tracks on the album.
Savior - A slow starting track with and an extremely catchy chorus, Tim Mcllrath show his impressive lyrical ability on this track and is easily one of his best pieces of lyrics he has ever written.
Hairline Fracture - An interesting change of pace, this track is the most generic of the album. The chorus, however, shows off the backup singers (Zach Blair, Brandon Barnes, Joe Principes) a little more and makes this track stand out a little more.
Whereabouts Unknown - Easily the hardest track on the album. This track is an excellent closer and makes up for the previous album's closer, which I didn't quite like. The line "it's alright" makes the track more interesting and personal.
This album is one of the best albums I have heard in a long time and one of my personal favorites. I highly recommend this album to anyone. It's hard presence and melodic appeal mix well along with Tim Mcllrath lyrical talent and make Rise Against one the best punk bands of today.
Recommended Tracks: Collapse (Post Amerika), Re-Education (Through Labor), Audience Of One, Hero Of War, Whereabouts Unknown.
My Rating: 10/10