Rise Against – The Black Market
The seventh studio album from Rise Against breaks lyrical ground for the Chicago punk rock group, while falling back on a familiar musical formula. The Black Market does plenty to maintain Rise Against’s place as the thinking man’s punk rock band, but it’s clear the band’s furious focus is slowly shifting. You’ll have to decide for yourself whether or not it’s shifting for the better.
Musically, the band shows few signs of slowing down: opening track, The Great Die-Off, breaks from a soft classical melody to fast-paced full-force punk in seconds, with all of the aspects that make Rise Against’s songs so instantly recognisable.
Tim McIlrath’s hoarse vocals permeate every track on the album, and are as discernable on the album’s interesting acoustic number, as they are on the tracks that edge into hardcore. Likewise Brandon Barnes’ frenzied, high-speed drum beats are just as distinct, although they’re given a rest to make room for the more experimental tracks on the album.
Unfortunately, the tracks that vary from the rest of the Rise Against discography are few and far between. People Live Here gives a glimpse of the bands’ potential range: it’s acoustic, melodic and we can only hope that the band has a few more tracks like this up their sleeve.
Lyrically, Rise Against have transferred their fury, at least in part, from big government and faceless corporations to failed and dying relationships. Thankfully, they apply the same level of thought and intensity to these subjects as they have the rest of their tracks, and lyrics that discuss love and romance often do so as a microcosm of bigger events.
The band’s activist tendencies haven’t been hidden away completely either: The Eco-Terrorist in Me promotes activism and demonstrates their disillusionment just as fervently as they ever have. Lyrics like “I found god in the sound of your factories burning down” act as the kind of powerful, yet ultimately futile, call to arms that only punk music can achieve.
Ultimately, The Black Market is a Rise Against album, so those who find their fast paced, anti-authoritarian style energising are going to love every minute – though it’s a shame that while the band’s subject has changed, their music has remained stagnant. Those who have had issues with their ferocious style in the past will find that there’s not quite enough new on show to draw them in. But for the fans who can’t help but return for more of the band’s thoughtful take on an often mindless genre, there’s plenty to sink your teeth into here.
Joe Manners Lewis
The Black Market was released on 15th July 2014. For further information or to order the album visit Rise Against’s website here.
Watch the video for I Don’t Want to Be Here Anymore here: