The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


The Student News Site of Gannon University since 1947


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February 23, 2024

Band vocalizes political view on album

The new manifesto is here and it reminds everyone that the band members of Rise Against are patriots through and through.

The straight edge punk band released its fifth studio album and it’s just as in-your-face political as the albums that came before.

Rise Against are well known for their intense political message on every album, and with each album they grow into that role more and more. It can be argued, though, that they lost some of the raw rage their first few albums contained. “Appeal to Reason,” the band’s fourth studio album, was filled to the brim with political digs, but it delivered the band in a calmer way compared to the 2004 album “Siren Songs of the Counter Culture” or 2003’s “Revolutions Per Minute.” Now the band’s latest album, “Endgame,” has arrived and delivers on both fronts, some back to basic sounds with a strong political message. As a huge Rise Against fan, it was hard to narrow down the album’s true standouts. On an album filled with pure emotion, six songs stand above them all: “Architects,” “Help Is on the Way,” “Satellite,” “Survivor’s Guilt,”  “This Is Letting Go” and “Endgame.”

“Architects” sets the tone of the entire album. This is a song about rededicating the band to the cause it stands for.  Fans of the fast-paced verses Rise Against are known for will be on familiar territory with this song. From the very first strum of the guitar, the song explodes as lead vocalist Tim McIlrath takes the microphone and assumes all authority. The words that he projects from his mouth speak of a lost purpose that needs to be found again. For all the critics who want to know if Rise Against still stand for everything they said they did, this is the testimony.

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Following on “Architects” heels is the hit single, “Help Is on the Way.” This is one of those songs that continuously moves without playing overly loud or fast, but instead opts for a perpetual vocal tone with a repetitive beat. This all breaks down when McIlrath tears into the chorus following a quick slide on the guitar. The all-familiar screaming breakdown makes an appearance in this song as well changing it from a fast-paced song to a rage-filled outburst. “Help Is on the Way” will appeal to the mass audiences who like former singles from Rise Against, which explains why the band chose to make it its first single.

Five tracks into the album comes “Satellite,” which starts off very calmly with a nice repetitive guitar rhythm that leads into a drum kick, then utter silence for McIlrath’s fierce tirade. From there on out, the song jumps back and forth between tempos like so many other Rise Against songs. The breakdown slows and features accompanying vocals from bass player Joe Principe, and lead guitarist Zach Blair. The drums give a last saluting beat with McIlrath over top and then the song ends.

“Survivor Guilt” brings back the familiar spokenthat Rise Against used on their first two albums and, just like before, it complements not only the song, but the entire album.

This track is a struggle. The lyrics are slow and the beats quickly follow suit.

Each word feels like McIlrath is dragging himself up the side of a mountain.

The pure discord can be felt in each word as the instruments try their best to move him forward, and then he explodes with a speed only Jaguars can match – and not the animal.

The last chunk of the song features a spoken break down and McIlrath struggling through the last few lines until the end.

The album’s conclusion begins with “This Is Letting Go,” which seems to be the most personal song, because the lyrics seem like words from McIlrath’s diary. This is a gentle song compared to ones that came before it.

The drum beats and guitar riffs are fluid, and McIlrath settles down into a comfortable tempo that delivers his internal strife with poise and dignity.

The last song kicks off with a wicked guitar rhythm accompanied by staunch drum hits, then McIlrath takes the stage.

Just like “This is Letting Go,” “Endgame” takes a somewhat slower road to wrap up the message of the album. Nothing is over the top, but it’s still filled with unparalleled emotion and vocals. Listening to this song alone encompasses the meaning of the entire album.

Rise Against’s latest entry into the punk rock catalogue is amazing at worst.

This is a band that takes the time to craft its music like symphony composers and formulate ideas that truly exemplify their own feelings regarding modern issues.

“Endgame” is a great album, surpassing “Appeal to Reason” and almost standing on par with “Siren Songs of the Counter Culture.”

The only thing missing is a slow song like “Swing Life Away” to really cover all the angles. Rise Against supporters and mainstream music listeners alike will love this album and get a true taste of well-crafted music.


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