Friday, 8 May 2009

Review – Appeal To Reason by Rise Against (2008)

A slightly edited version of this review was carried in this weeks issue of The Socialist

I’d guess that the name is perhaps the biggest clue to the fact that Rise Against are quite a left-leaning political band. Their angst-ridden punk rock/hardcore sound has driven them through several albums and has continued to propel them into their latest album, Appeal To Reason. Whilst the album is instantly recognisable as a Rise Against album to a fan, it doesn’t just repeat the style of previous albums, rather deepening it and finding new variations within that style, quite impressive for a four piece punk rock band.

The bands sense of timing combined with some great lyrics makes this a powerful album, for example within the song Re-Education (Through Labor) describing how events will wash away the mis-education people suffer as people “…won’t believe the lies that hide the truth.” Or the environmentalist anthem Collapse (Post-Amerika) with its lines describing the chaos global warming could potential wreak on the planet and asking how it is possible that some still seek to deny this is happening and stall the drastic measures needed. Or their self-deprication in Entertainment with the lyrics “All we are is pretty faces, Picture perfect bottled rage, Packaged synthesized versions of you.”

One of the best songs is Kotov Syndrome, named for a chess term for a move made where the player has spent to long deliberating and rushes a bad move before he runs out of time, focuses on the insecurity offered to ordinary people by capitalist society. The song also features a particularly good lyric “There, high on the watchtower, keeping the peace, whatever that means” is a biting critic of imperialist nations attempts to impose ‘peace’ on their own terms upon the world through the invasions in the Middle East.

But the song that steals the album, is the sole acoustic song, Hero of War. The song graphically depicts the life a young man who signs up to the armed forces and goes through a tour of Iraq. The song depicts the brutality of the occupation with the beating of prisoners and the murder of innocent civilians and how this changes the young man. If you like this genre of music then listening to this album is a must.

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