Review: Rise Against – Appeal to Reason (and NZ/OZ tour info!) by underground

The anticipation of listening to one of your favourite band’s latest albums for the first time is a thrill I expect I share with most music lovers. Rise Against’s Appeal to Reason will do well to impress, following 2006’s exceptional Sufferer and the Witness. From the get-go, The Sufferer and the Witness caught the listener’s attention, with epic anthems demanding you sing along at the top of your lungs. In fact, this rings true of all their previous releases. On first listen of Appeal to Reason, however, there doesn’t seem to be that same attraction. The songs overall are very good; Rise Against is arguably one of the most consistently good punk bands around, rarely putting a foot wrong. However, Rise Against is truly great when they mix it up, and some of the tracks on Appeal to Reason are a bit formulaic and on first listen, there are only a few surprises.

After giving the album another listen, I start to feel I may have been a bit harsh on Appeal to Reason. The band has grown since Sufferer and the Witness and whilst the signature sound is clearly dominant, the band has matured in its song writing. There are still the sing-alongs that make this band so great live, but greater detail has gone into the song structure and to the guitar riffs, pulling in the listener with catchy hooks.

Rise Against have always done acoustic songs well. “Swing life away” was a highlight of Siren Song for Counter Culture, and acoustic versions of “Prayer of the Refugee” and “Everchanging” off previous albums are simply brilliant. No surprise then that ‘Hero of War’ stands out on Appeal to Reason. Once the aggression and fury of the preceding songs subside, the laid-back, country feel of an acoustic guitar with Tim McIlrath’s sincere, powerful voice is a welcome reprieve. But the song is certainly not Rise Against-lite, blasting the blind patriotism and brainwashing that allows soldiers to kill innocent lives and commit atrocities without batting an eyelid. Among an album of punchy, fist raising punk songs, the change of pace on ‘Hero of War’ is a highlight. Other standouts include the circus-themed ‘Entertainment’, the hard-hitting single ‘Re-education (Through Labor)’ and the energetic ‘Saviour’.

I can’t help but think that punk music is going to take a hit when George W Bush leaves office, as his blunders have fuelled many protest anthems and appeals to reason. Hopefully I believe the void will be filled, as creative and intelligent punk bands look for new important issues to highlight. Expect Rise Against to aim their sights on injustices for many years to come.

Rise Against “Hero of War”:



Don’t miss Rise Against’s 2009 tour of Australia and New Zealand.

Tour dates are: (Thanks to access all areas for details)

Tuesday 24 March: Metro City, Perth 18+
Ticketek 132 849 or http://www.ticketek.com.au; Moshtix 1300 438 849 or http://www.moshtix.com.au

Wednesday 25 March: Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide All Ages
Venue*Tix (08) 8225 8888 or http://www.venuetix.com.au

Friday 27 March: Festival Hall, Melbourne All Ages
Ticketmaster 136 100 or http://www.ticketmaster.com.au; Festival Hall Box Office; (licensed and unlicensed areas)

Saturday 28 March: Hordern Pavilion, Sydney All Ages
Ticketek 132 849 or http://www.ticketek.com.au

Sunday 29 March: The Tivoli, Brisbane All Ages
Ticketek 132 849 or http://www.ticketek.com.au

Tuesday 31 March: Powerstaion, Auckland 18+
Ticketmaster 09 970 9700 or http://www.ticketmaster.co.nz


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[…] Review: Rise Against – Appeal to Reason (and NZ/OZ tour info!) […]

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