Rise Against have always had lofty aspirations. Over the course of a twelve year career they’ve attempted to portray themselves as important, intellectual and emotionally intelligent artists. Unfortunately they’ve often failed on all three counts, but their intense commitment to making politically charged music for the under-classes has allowed Rise Against stand out amongst the crowded post-hardcore ranks.
2008 was a breakthrough year for the Chicago four piece. Riding on the back of three hit singles (“Audience Of One”, “Savior” and the superb “Re-Education (Through Labor)”) Appeal To Reason became Rise Against most successful album to date. It is therefore unsurprisingly to see the band sticking rigidly to that formula on their sixth studio album Endgame.
In the wake of the financial crisis Tim McIlrath’s tales of glass ceilings, detestable governments and social revolution suddenly appears more prophetic and vital than ever before. Sadly across a lengthy 45 minutes Rise Against’s bombastic and one dimensional attack becomes tedious and predictable as one recycled riff impacts against the next.
In isolation “Help Is On The Way”, “Disparity By Design”, “Architects” or practically any track from this album would provide a thrilling albeit familiar single, but taken as a whole Endgame is weighed down by its one dimensional bluster. The flag waving angst that gives Rise Against their edge and their commercial success is stifling the band’s creativity.
Endgame is an adequately enjoyable effort, but if Rise Against artistic aspirations are as grand as their political overtures, then it’s time for Tim McIlrath and co. to forgo conservatism and embrace innovation.
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