Rise Against - Endgame (Cover Artwork)

Rise Against

Rise Against: EndgameEndgame (2011)

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: JohnGentileJohnGentile
(others by this writer | submit your own)

On the title of track of Endgame, Tim Mcllrath describes a world where rotting bodies pile up in fields, pleas are left unanswered by absent gods, and then finally, when things seem at their most dim, the last bit of oil runs out and the modern age comes to an end. He doesn't offer conjectures as to.
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On the title of track of Endgame, Tim Mcllrath describes a world where rotting bodies pile up in fields, pleas are left unanswered by absent gods, and then finally, when things seem at their most dim, the last bit of oil runs out and the modern age comes to an end. He doesn't offer conjectures as to how the end of civilization came about, nor does he point blame at anyone for the collapse of life as we know it. In fact, he doesn't even say whether the apocalypse is good or bad. Through their icy description of the onrushing apocalypse, It seems that necessity has somewhat shaped Rise Against's view of the modern world and enabled them to cut their most multi-faceted record to date.

On 2008's Appeal to Reason, the group aimed squarely at the fallout of the previous presidential administration, focusing on how the Iraqi war had affected veterans and those at home alike. But here there seems to be less condemnation in the group's tone than a dismissal of the human race in its entirety. "Disparity by Design" roars, "We pulled on these bootstraps so hard they broke!" while questioning whether the current system of helping the down and out is elevating them to a higher station or keeping them in their place. On "Make It Stop (December's Children)", the band laments the recent rash of suicides caused by gay teens that have been bullied and proclaims that it has to stop, more concerned on the current problem than what caused it.

Produced by Bill Stevenson, Endgame continues Rise Against's trend of energetic, anthemic punk. At times the heavy production can be a little too slick, stripping away some of the group's passion, which is quite clearly earnest. But the heavy in-studio contemplation pays off when the group sneaks in unusual elements that add extra backbone to the group's sound without being distracting. "Midnight Hands" masterfully blends a metal riff into the layers of sound without sounding like the group is trying to be metal, and "Make It Stop" has a spacey, dance-influenced intro that deftly adds variety to melodic punk while seamlessly sliding into the song proper.

Most interestingly, the group not only contemplates the human condition, but their own as well. The album's most charged line comes on "Architects", where Mcllrath pleads, "Remember when you were young and you wanted to set the world on fire / somewhere deep down I know you do," warping a similar line from Against Me!'s "I Was a Teenage Anarchist". Mcllrath then plays a variation on the theme with "Remember when we were young, and we wanted to start the world on fire / 'cause I'm still young and I still do." The parallels between Rise Against and Against Me! are already clear: Each band started on an indie label only to traverse to a major, and then suffer the inevitable backlash from old fans as well as earn praise from those unaware of each group's storied past. What's not clear is McIIrath's intention. He could be firing a shot at Against Me!'s Tom Gabel, but he could also be supporting a frequently attacked contemporary by arguing that he's the same as he always was.

When Rise Against uses specific instances to attack a broader topic, the group is at its most effective. However, sometimes they slip into the clichéd or bland: On "Satellite", flying stands in as a metaphor for leaving the parents' nest. But while there are broad admonishments throughout the album that seem to lament a nameless feeling, there album's core concept of "the end" ties the more generalized grievances with the specific ones, allowing the album to have specific themes, if not concept.

The single that announced the album, "Help Is on the Way" uses the misfeasance of FEMA to suggest that Katrina might just be the tip of the iceberg–an omen of biblical proportions. Interestingly, though, Rise Against doesn't suggest that the oncoming rapture is avoidable, but rather view it with a detached observance–probably because, at this point, it's the only thing left that they can do.


People who liked this also liked:
Rise Against - Revolutions Per MinuteRise Against - The Sufferer & the WitnessBad Religion - The Dissent of ManRise Against - Appeal to ReasonThe Gaslight Anthem - American SlangRise Against - Siren Song Of The Counter CultureBad Religion - SufferThe Gaslight Anthem - The '59 SoundFrank Turner - England Keep My BonesPolar Bear Club - Clash Battle Guilt Pride

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
ogichiichigo (October 5, 2011)

Endgame is odd for me, because I love older Rise Against music so much, but at the same time, Endgame is made very well, even with the long songs, which to be honest doesn't bother me because they're good songs. The lyrics are written amazingly, I love the topics touched in the album, and of course the instrumentals are still as great as they ever were. The occasional unneccessary bridge and a song or two maybe being replaced would have made this a five star album. I'm still enjoying Rise Against, and this was definitely an improvement on Appeal To Reason. 4/5

telegraphrocks (September 3, 2011)

My least favorite of theirs, but it's definitely a "grower".

jonlz (April 20, 2011)

@TattoosandScallyCaps actually, Zach Blair brings a lot of Black Flag feel to their records. Still missing Chris Chasse, though.

Baxter (April 19, 2011)

What I don't understand is that punk is being more based on sound and time length than the actual ideas of the songs. If a band makes an entire album dedicated to help humanity then it is worth my ears. Kids of the Black Hole was like 5:30 minutes or so. And their next album Brats in Battalions had two songs over 4 minutes. And Rise Against releases an album they feel is great but since a few songs go over 4 minutes everybody has to shit their pants.

yummygrass (April 2, 2011)

What the fuck? Sad to think that (most of) these guys made Revolutions Per Minute. They fucked it, and then after leaving Fat Wreck Chords, became...well as you can see. This is just sadder than Arrested Development getting canceled.

whatchokesbegin (March 29, 2011)

seriously, what the fuck?

forevertrembling (March 24, 2011)

Can we disown this band yet?

woodprop (March 23, 2011)

Way way better than the last record ... but it comes off like a Michael Bay movie, it would have been much better if they chopped it down to 30 minutes.

jonlz (March 23, 2011)

Well, leaving Nickelback and Drowning Pool aside, I think the only way to get their political message across is to become pop. There are no two ways about it. Whether is that or being ignored as most of the bands from this site are.

grbrian (March 21, 2011)

lyrics of almost all songs are punky only the sound is slowing down and making the songs 3-4 mins. Flow along with the lyrics you will like it.

nofx0516 (March 18, 2011)

Survivor Guilt and A Gentlemen's Coup are the obvious standouts on the album, if your looking for the punk feel of the record.

Baxter (March 17, 2011)

After listening to this album for the fourth time, I can honestly say that this album has grew on me. If you all do the same, I am sure it will too.
I immediately liked Make it Stop after I found out what it was about. It is about suicides in our nation. I have a friend who committed suicide and the song grew on me. So this album is like a seed, just plant it.

TattoosandScallyCaps (March 17, 2011)

They started as angry, pissed off punks...now they're a little more introspective. What this album is, is their "My War". It's slower, moodier, and obviously pisses off some "purists". This is almost exactly what Black Flag did with "My War", and I enjoy both this and that record.

rhynomcgrath (March 17, 2011)

More from that song: "Watch as the bodies wash ashore, nobody lives here anymore".

llet the bodies hit he floor, let the bodies hit the floor?

jonlz (March 17, 2011)

More from that song: "Watch as the bodies wash ashore, nobody lives here anymore".

jonlz (March 17, 2011)

Talking about prophetic lyrics, from a Gentlemen's Coup: "Brace for fallout, the radiation creeps, on cats feet, we scatter in the streets, she asked me "do you think it's safe to breathe?" It doesn't look that way to me".

palpitations101 (March 17, 2011)

No hate for Rise Against. It just baffles me that they are, like, the biggest rock band in the country.

Good Riddance is rolling over - this should be them.

skrelk (March 17, 2011)

It's pretty good, not incredible, but pretty good. The best part is the lyrics, you can't seriously judge the album without noting the lyrics.

baronvonfuckyoustien (March 16, 2011)

I have been listening, and for the most part lyrical its a hundred time better than Appeal to Reason. Its slower, but it feels more like a Rise Against release to me, than the previous record. I don't think the nickel back comments were funny. I mean Nickel Back's existence ever since its inception was an insult to music. Rise Against made 4 amazing records before they made a clunker, this is a not that clunker..

new_wave (March 16, 2011)

does anyone know if the name of this album was inspired by the Alex Jones documentary?

THobbes (March 16, 2011)

@anarchypants i take it you're using the term creative loosely.

anarchypants (March 16, 2011)

@ THobbes - I'm sure hte next album they'll have a new creative spark and call it BeginningGame.

StraightToHell82 (March 16, 2011)

3:43 /// 3:58 /// 3:55 /// 3:49 /// 3:59 /// 4:18 /// 4:00 /// 3:55 /// 3:40 /// 3:46 /// 3:41 //// 3:24

Just because "only two" hit that 4:00 mark, they are basically all 4 minutes long.

This album is DEFINITELY too long.

exitenglish1208 (March 16, 2011)

i'm surprised people are complaining about the length so much...there are only two songs over 4 minutes (and one is at 4 minutes even)
i'll agree that some of the intros are weak, but the bridges didn't really bother me. to each his own i guess

tonn (March 16, 2011)

Nasty riffs, plenty of screams, meaningful and charged lyrics. A hundred times better than Appeal to Reason. A solid album in my book. I'd give it a well deserved B .

fat_miker (March 16, 2011)

it's just sad...

spitfire411 (March 15, 2011)

The Nickelback comments were funny until they actually started sounding like them, now they are sad because it's becoming true. That riff at the beginning of "Midnight Hands" is so f'ing lame. And those drum breakdowns.....why?

onemarxistbrother (March 15, 2011)

I‚??ve been a huge fan of these guys for as long as I remember. Even though the angry, thrashy yet intelligent, punk from their old days will always be my favorite I can respect that they want to slow down and mature. This album is pretty decent. I liked parts of songs but there was no one song that had it all or blew me away. The swing beat on ‚??Broken Mirrors‚?Ě is pretty sick and overall ‚??Architects‚?Ě is probably the best song. I was disappointed in that the structure of a lot of the songs was very formulaic, the base needed to be brought up in a lot of songs, there was an overuse of backup lyrics, and some like ‚??Make it Stop‚?Ě were just bad. To me, this album is just the next step in their journey away from punk, which makes me sad. Definitely their worst album yet
Also every song had at least 3 god damn divebombs in it! I mean they‚??re cool but seriously.

THobbes (March 15, 2011)

i wouldnt be surprised if this is their last album. "endgame" anyone? it sounds like they've run out of ideas.

mynameispoop (March 15, 2011)

Great album. Possibly their slowest, but that's only by their standards. Faster than 99% of the other stuff out there. Great melodies and more screaming than on Appeal to Reason. Great guitar riffs, great lyrics. Oh, and balls.

BarleyPat (March 15, 2011)

"Rise Against didn't suck after leaving Fat...but they sure do suck now"

Agreed. While I thought The Unraveling was way better than Sufferer, S&theW was still a great album imo. Appeal to Reason was terrible and this is only marginally better.

hayman (March 15, 2011)

Not bad at all. A couple of great songs, a few good ones. Anyone else think the bottom end is a bit too loud?

StraightToHell82 (March 15, 2011)

6/10, and that's generous.
Their worst full-length.

jonlz (March 15, 2011)

Nickel Against!

indecay (March 15, 2011)

Score is for the first 3 songs. Had to turn it off after that. Not good.

conebone69 (March 15, 2011)

I'll still put Sufferer and the Witness on par with(if not, over) The Unraveling

Rise Against didn't suck after leaving Fat...but they sure do suck now

Make it stop indeed

JayTee (March 15, 2011)

The bridges.... please god make the bridges stop.

troglodyte (March 15, 2011)

Anyone else noticing that they seem to be leaning even more heavily on BR style "oozin' ahs?" Listen to Disparity by Design and tell me you can't imagine Greg Graffin singing it.

Either way, I kinda dig it. It's definitely a stronger album than Appeal to Reason, even if it's not as strong as their older material. While I'd prefer a sound closer to Siren Song and before, I'm just happy to get new RA, period.

uncle_leo (March 15, 2011)

Very well written review, but the only thing I agree with is the poignancy of the lyrics.

returnofdebs (March 15, 2011)

how many times will they replace their guitarist before the tour is even over, or before the tour bus needs to stop for gas?

JayTee (March 15, 2011)

Just listened to the whole thing. Here's basically every song on here:

(INCREDIBLY LONG LONG LONG INTRO) - (Kind of a punk song) - (INCREDIBLY LONG BRIDGE) - (EVEN LONGER BRIDGE) - (A THIRD BRIDGE?!?!? JESUS!!!!) - (Back to chorus of punk song)

Someone tell that band to record 12 songs next time and not 50 songs crammed into 12.

Anarchypants (March 15, 2011)

Pretty solid, no major highs or lows.

Blackjaw_ (March 15, 2011)

Grew on me. Better than their last record. I still like this band, no matter how much cooler I am than I used to be.

adamtrask (March 15, 2011)

Great record. Listen to the lyrics. The music is more creative than you'd expect too.

toymachinary (March 15, 2011)

so.....how is the music part of the album?

William_David (March 15, 2011)

I like the analysis this review gives of the album's topics, but disappointed that nowhere does it seem to address the actual music. It's not a poetry reading of McIlrath's lyrics, so it would be nice to know more about the sounds that go along with them.

exitenglish1208 (March 15, 2011)

i like this album a lot. i'm pretty much genetically incapable of not liking rise against though. this is better than appeal to reason IMHO, but i feel like whatever they put out, it wouldn't change the minds of people that decided they suck as soon as the left fat

alien (March 15, 2011)

I agree with Baxter. This is where they are going. it;s more concise than Appeal to Reason, and is slow. Broken Mirrors, and Midnight Hands, have pretty annoying styles.. and it's not fast like they used to be, but it's still enjoyable. Just don't expect the old stuff.

Baxter (March 15, 2011)

This album is something I expected from TIm and Co. To be honest, this is not their best release but it is not the worst. Even though tim does not scream in it really at all, I have to admit that I will listen to this album and there are some good tracks like Midnight Hands and Endgame itself. This album will grow on you.

oldpunkerforever (March 15, 2011)

Terrible, half star is for my memories of them-oldpunker-

misterspike (March 15, 2011)

This album bored the hell out of me.

keithybobeefy (March 15, 2011)

I haven't listened to this record so I can't comment on the music, but considering how anti-Bush Rise Against was it makes sense to not point the blame at others who they may have supported.

For the record, I'm no fan of president Bush. I'm no fan of Obama either.

I could be totally off base with my thoughts on this and if I am, well, oops.

enchanted_steel (March 15, 2011)

Can I force this album to give me stars?

publichousing (March 15, 2011)

Architects is a really good song.

conebone69 (March 15, 2011)

Three and a half stars? Nigga please...

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