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No matter what people say about Rise Against's previous effort, "Appeal to Reason", I will always love that album, nowhere near as much as the previous one "The Sufferer and the Witness", or "Siren Song of the Counter Culture, or even the first two albums, "Revolutions per Minute" and "The Unraveling" - yes, if you can count you'll realise this is the band's 6th album. They've been going for over 10 years now and they're gradually getting bigger and bigger for good reason, I might want my favourite band to stay small and still "MINE", but they deserve this new found fame, as they are the best, and have been for a long time.
The album opens with "Architects." It has such a great intro and a punk beat that it's quite a surprise when it leads into a mid tempo chorus, but the band are known for their slow-fast/fast-slow transitions. The bridge, irritatingly takes a dig at Against Me!, using their lyric "don't you remember when you were young and you wanted to set the world on fire?" but adding "I still am and I still do." I love both Rise Against and Against Me!, Rise Against more so, by quite a bit, but I feel like it was an unnecessary dig in the current punk game, taking a personal lyric as a general one.
The opener fades into lead single "Help is on the Way". When I first heard this track I was disappointed and worried about the direction of the new album, it even reminded me of my least favourite Rise Against song ever, "Hairline Fracture" but now that the album is out, I've grown to love it. It features such amazing lyrics that lead singer Tim McIlrath deserves so much more credit for. Talking about hurricane Katrina and the help never arriving a very fitting music video was released showing a family's story, but not featuring the band at all, which increased my respect for them even more, it proved they're not attention hungry, they just want to make a difference, and if any song shows that more it's the next track, "Make it Stop (September's Children)".
The track starts with what sounds like a school choir and a riff reminiscent of Green Day's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" but as soon as Tim starts singing, the emotion in his voice just makes the subject matter even more important, the song is about homophobia and the wave of teen suicides that occurred in September of 2010 due to homophobic bullying. As the band have said, nobody else was taking about this issue, and that's completely true, so for a band as big as Rise Against to speak out about it, hopefully it will make a difference somewhere. This is one of the most haunting, powerful and sad songs I've ever heard. This is only reinforced in the bridge when the names of those teenagers are read out, with the most shocking ending with "age 13." I really hope this is released as a single in the future as I feel more people need to hear it.
The album shifts pace with the pounding punk anthem "Disparity by Design" which also features Tim's great screaming in the bridge as well as an amazing chorus. "Satellite" starts with just vocals over a guitar line but soon blasts into a big chorus. I've never really been a fan of the verses in this song, but the bridge is what really makes this song, the tempo changes as a slow riff starts and Tim sings about "sailing off in the night", the band then blasts in and repeats this. It's a very powerful section and one of the highlights on the album but Rise Against have always been known for having amazing bridges.
Alkaline Trio fans will notice Matt Skiba's vocals on an almost metal sounding song called "Midnight Hands" which is the weakest on the album, not being very memorable. After that however "Survivor Guilt" builds up during a frankly epic intro with quotes from the movie "Catch-22." The band blasts in and makes this one of the most powerful songs on the album, and in the band's history. It's amazing. The lyrics are absolutely stunning, if you haven't guessed, it's about war, but more specifically it's written from the point of view of a dead soldier. Who "fought your fight, bought your lie and in return I lost my life." The track is a follow up to a very controversial track on the last album called "Hero of War" which told the story of a soldier, which is a song I feel everyone needs to hear.
"Broken Mirrors" once again shows off the band's heavier side before the slow "Wait for Me" starts which suddenly blasts into an epic chorus. "A Gentleman's Coup" gets back to the punk and has already become a fan favourite from the album. Once again featuring a "twist" bridge, as does "This is Letting Go" which is actually my favourite song from the album. It's one of the more personal songs and I've always found that their personal songs have been my favourite in the past. It's quite mid tempo but the chorus is very powerful and the bridge is rather amazing, definitely worth a listen.
Title track "Endgame" rounds off the album with a nice bass intro that we've grown to love over the years, Joe Principe has some serious talent. Drummer Brandon is also on top form on this album, there's a lot of different styles used rather than just PUNK BEAT constantly. He's always been a very unique talented drummer and on this album all of that feels perfected. Zach Blair provides great guitar work while Tim McIlrath's voice sounds better than ever. This album is up there with their best. A must have for fans of modern punk, or anybody disappointed by "Appeal to Reason."
"This is Letting Go"
"Make it Stop"
"Disparity by Design"
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Help Is On The Way
3 Make It Stop (September's Children)
4 Disparity By Design
6 Midnight Hands
7 Survivor Guilt
8 Broken Mirrors
9 Wait For Me
10 A Gentlemen's Coup
11 This Is Letting Go