Rise Against On The Rise

Rise Against cut its teeth as a hardcore punk band at the turn of the century. The group was gritty, edgy and volatile during its salad days.
‘The Unraveling,’ the band’s 2001 debut is a fiery, intense disc filled with visceral songs.
Rise Against, which will perform Saturday at the Susquehanna Bank Center, has grown up. The group still has plenty of sonic bite but it’s evolved into a heady punk rock act in the vein of exceptional veteran punk rockers Bad Religion.
As Rise Against has aged it has toned down the all out punk assault but the lyrics are as provocative as ever. There’s plenty of inspiring salvos throughout its latest album, ‘Endgame.’
“I think this one is heavier than our last album, (2008’s Appeal to Reason)” drummer Brandon Barnes said. “It’s about what’s going on in the country and throughout the world. There is a lot to talk about and it’s there on this record. Some bands won’t touch politics. Some bands don’t want to ruffle any feathers. That’s not us.”
“Endgame’ is a politically charged disc, which is full of strong melodies. Vocalist-guitarist Tim Mcllrath belts out lyrics, which are urgent and dramatic, particularly on such intense cuts as ‘Make It Stop’ (‘September’s Children’), ‘Survivor Guilt’ and ‘Disparity By Design.’
The latter particularly sounds like it was inspired by the Bad Religion attack. But that’s hardly a bad influence, considering Bad Religion’s consistent, laudable canon.
Rise Against has clearly been influenced by a run of difficult events that have taken the luster from America.
“So much has happened and you can’t help but react to it musically and lyrically, if you’re in a band like ours,” Barnes said. “But to me that’s what punk is all about. It’s about laying it all out. It’s about having a message and relaying that message. You look at what we’ve been through as a country the last ten years and we can’t help but be inspired to write about it.”
Rise Against, which also includes guitarist Zach Blair and bassist Joe Principe, certainly has a message. It’s political, powerful and thought provoking. It’s a welcome salve in an age of shallow reality television and lightweight music.
“I think it’s important to get what you think out there, especially in these times,” Barnes said. “Not everybody is saying something but we have something to say with our music. It’s just the way it’s always been for us. That’s something that won’t change. We write songs that shouldn’t be on the radio.”
However, a number of Rise Against cuts are in regular rotation on satellite radio.
“That’s a good thing,” Barnes said. “But when we make music we don’t make concessions. We go all out and if it gets some airplay, fine but if not, that’s alright too.”

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