Rise Against are fighting back with their eighth album.
Can protest songs really change the world? In an era where the news resembles dystopian fiction and a misogynistic reality TV star has his own nuclear arsenal, it’s easy to doubt music’s power to make a difference. But Rise Against have never wavered in that belief, and never will.
One of punk’s few great constants, the Chicago four-piece are back and as furious as ever with this eighth album. As you’d expect, they don’t fumble the ball.
Calling bullshit on apathy and hopelessness - literally so on ‘Bullshit’ – Tim McIlrath’s crew face up to climate change deniers (‘Parts Per Million’), political corruption (‘Welcome To The Breakdown’) and all the evils of the age with blistering, sharply executed melodic punk anthems. You know the drill by now, and familiarity does dull the edges of their less immediate efforts.
They could write songs like ‘Far From Perfect’ in their sleep, sure, and echoes of former glories are everywhere. But when they really hit their stride, as on the weather-worn melodies of ‘Mourning In Amerika’ and the title track’s desperate call to arms, you realise how lucky we are to still have them around.
These 11 songs may not save us by themselves, but they can certainly make us feel more alive and provide a much-needed injection of hope.