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Rise Against - The Black Market (Cover Artwork)

Rise Against

Rise Against: The Black MarketThe Black Market (2014)
Interscope

Reviewer Rating: 2.5
User Rating:


Contributed by: maxq333maxq333
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Each new record by Rise Against can be looked at in two different ways: First, context can be taken into account. The band used to be one of the most respected and talented punk bands in the scene in the early 2000s and have progressively moved towards the mainstream. Second, context can be ignored .
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Each new record by Rise Against can be looked at in two different ways: First, context can be taken into account. The band used to be one of the most respected and talented punk bands in the scene in the early 2000s and have progressively moved towards the mainstream. Second, context can be ignored and an album can be looked at as a single release. The release of 2009's Appeal to Reason saw fans disappointed as the band moved towards a poppier sound, yet on its own, the record isn't too bad. It regains the bands strong political sentiments and skirts the edges of punk rock. 2011's Endgame seemed to be a slight return to form with faster songs and even stronger political tones.

Now comes The Black Market, the band's seventh record. From the opening of "The Great Die Off" it becomes clear instantly that this record is the biggest departure from the band's old sound, so far. But rather than the poppy sound of Appeal to Reason, or the harshness of Endgame, the record has a distinct rock sound. Tim McIlrath's voice is harsh and prominent, yet without the raw edge of previous records. The song is heavy, but beyond the verses, remains mid—tempo.

The rest of the record continues in a similar vein. Lead single "I Don't Want to Be Here Anymore" is promising until the extremely long and uninteresting chorus. The aptly—titled "A Beautiful Indifference" and "Zero Visibility" are completely forgettable. "Sudden Life" is perhaps the biggest misstep of the record, sounding like a half—hearted attempt at a hard—rock song. Each of these songs, though, in one way or another, sounds as though it could work, but something just isn't gelling. This time it feels less like a natural progression and more of a forced one.

The songs that do work, work really well. "The Eco—Terrorist in Me" shows that the band can still write a Revolutions per Minute—era song perfectly. Its screamed verses and catchy chorus make it by far the highlight of the record. "Tragedy + Time" despite being the poppiest song on the record sounds sincere and would work as a good penultimate track, but not so much as the third song on the record. The title track has a certain Rise Against feel to it, which many of the other songs lack.

The final three songs is where the record finally gets truly interesting. "Awake Too Long" is classic Rise Against material with its political lyrics (rarely seen throughout the record), fast verses and massive chorus; the three factors which the band have always made great use of. "People Live Here", while it may not stack up against "Hero of War" or "Swing Life Away", is a solid ballad with anti—war themes. Closer "Bridges" skirts between tempos and does so cleverly, maintaining energy throughout.

The music throughout is consistent and strong; melodic guitars, gruff vocals while the rhythm section ploughs along throughout each track. The problem seems to be more of a song—writing one. The band have found themselves as one of the biggest rock bands around at current and seems to be writing for a different audience, which of course is expected. However, that doesn't make it any less disappointing.

So, looking at the record with context, it's disappointing. But this time, without context, it's still pretty disappointing. It's a decent radio—rock album with punk influences. The potential is there, within each track, yet not quite reached. Maybe every album they release in the future will be disappointing, or maybe they'll return to their punk roots as bands often do when their popularity wears off. For now, though, despite a few good songs, The Black Market is an overall misstep in the band's catalogue.

 

 
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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.
superanncoulterfanclub (September 22, 2014)

It's way better than Endgame & Appeal to Reason; probably on par with Siren Songs of the Counter Culture. But not even in the same league as Revolutions Per Minute or the Unraveling or the Sufferer and the Witness.

ifthesetrees (August 29, 2014)

Not an obvious one at all. Slower, poppier, less angst, cheesier. Yet to be convinced this isn't a total stinker of a record.

devianter (August 19, 2014)

The Unravelling and RPM were obviously their best albums. Then they started to go down. In 2009 they released that EP i even bought on vinyl on Fat Wreck and it was like WOW, THEY STILL KNOW HOW TO MAKE GOOOOOD MUSIC. It's like they reminded us "hey, we are collection all the money we can on the mainstream, but you and we know where we come from". And then they continued with these shitty albums. I get them, i get why they do it. But I can't like them anymore.

krid (August 8, 2014)

Unfortunately a very average record.

peege (August 1, 2014)

Eco Terrorist in me is great. The intro of Zero Visibility sounds like they ripped off the Bronx a bit. Overall - meh.

rageagainst (July 31, 2014)

This album is WAAAY better than than Endgame, which was them just confused with their direction, and made even Appeal to Reason look good, at least that album had catchy melodic tunes. This album sees them drop their pseudo-country focus and shift to more comfortable territory: alt-rock, a continuation of Sufferer and the Witness. Obviously its not as good as Sufferer, but I can't decide yet if this album is better than Appeal to Reason.

I've noticed the punk gets more and more diluted every record, though that's not a bad thing, they are finding their own sound. I'm just thankful for the cringeworthy country vibes gone, and still appreciate Rise Against as literally the only melodic hardcore band in the mainstream space, and thus they have the highest production values.

Daviedos9966 (July 29, 2014)

For me, RA sucks now.

ivano (July 27, 2014)

"one of the biggest rock bands around"

Really? In the US, maybe. Here in EU I really don't think so.

But even in america... Muse? U2? RHCP? Pearl Jam? You telling me RA is as big as them in the US?

killtaker (July 25, 2014)

"As much as people want to ignore context, it's very difficult to listen to a band who has changed for external reasons. It's OK when bands progress because that's the direction they want to go... but when it's so obvious that the music is being pulled by demand, it's hard to hear the real music under those overtones."

How do you know all of that? What does "pulled by demand" mean?

Blackjaw_ (July 25, 2014)

I like it. I'll always be a fan of this band.

1. Sufferer
2. Unraveling, RPM, Siren Song (I really can't rank these 3)
3. Endgame
4. Appeal to Reason
5. Black Market

flowerfeeder (July 25, 2014)

"This album is their worst so far. It's not that the lyrics are bad, because they're alright, but the actual music just isn't Rise Against. I miss the Siren Sound of the Counter Culture and The Sufferer and The Witness Rise Against."

I have been here long enough to witness the same exact thing said by fans of The Unraveling and RPM in regards to the above listed albums. I don't know whether to be proud or depressed about that reality.

Prozey (July 25, 2014)

This album is their worst so far. It's not that the lyrics are bad, because they're alright, but the actual music just isn't Rise Against. I miss the Siren Sound of the Counter Culture and The Sufferer and The Witness Rise Against.

levidolphin (July 24, 2014)

I disagree with the review. It's better than the last two albums! The songs are catchier and some of the bass parts are sweet. Favorites are The Eco-Terrorist in Me, Awake too Long and A Beautiful Indifference.

I turned on the local cock rock radio station the other day and heard the shittiest song by Lincoln Park. I HATE that band. I will always like Rise Against and I'm glad they are semi-successful!!!

migs647 (July 24, 2014)

It's a bit better than their last two albums. Definitely not like early RA, but still solid compared to a lot of recent albums by other bands.

napalm06 (July 24, 2014)

As much as people want to ignore context, it's very difficult to listen to a band who has changed for external reasons. It's OK when bands progress because that's the direction they want to go... but when it's so obvious that the music is being pulled by demand, it's hard to hear the real music under those overtones.

Seangroundzero (July 24, 2014)

it's not THAT bad... I personally believe it to be one of their best albums.

Jonny0110 (July 24, 2014)

Solid album. Their older stuff is by the numbers speedy punk and they got better when they introduced different elements and diversified their sound. Stop being boring.

renaldo69 (July 24, 2014)

Some good tracks here and there. More bad than good.

Still, missing their old aura. That was rad stuffz

SomebodysDoneFor (July 23, 2014)

Rise Against is probably the most overrated band in the punk scene.

misterspike (July 23, 2014)

I'll check it out, but I really lost interest in RA after 'The Sufferer and The Witness'. I'll always love the first three rekkids, though. Those are some powerful tunes.

Razor_Crusade (July 23, 2014)

This album is okay. Tim's lyrics are generally pretty great, even if they're just retreading the same crap he always sings about.

The biggest problem with the album is that EVERY SONG has the same structure. Verse -> Slow Pre-chorus -> Chorus (usually even slower) -> Verse -> Slow Pre-chorus -> Chorus -> Really slow, quiet bridge -> Final Chorus with more whoas.

Seriously, listen to the album again with this in mind. It's incredibly disappointing for a band with this much talent to use such a paint-by-numbers method of songwriting.

garrspete (July 23, 2014)

I know it's the cool thing on this site these days to bash these guys, but this album is solid. Get over the fact that they aren't going back to their RPM sound and it becomes a very enjoyable record.

Way better than their last two. I did wish on the faster, harder hitting songs they wouldn't revert to their rock sound a minute and a half in, but whatever. I only found one song bleh. Rest is solid.

Josiah (July 23, 2014)

boring, generic, rise against. such a shame. i know everyone always harps on it, but, fuck, those first two albums held so much promise.

ak3punk (July 23, 2014)

I really enjoy this album. It's much better than the last two. We all know that the first two RA albums on FAT are the best, but if you currently enjoy RA you'll love this.

CornDogsOnFire (July 23, 2014)

Watered down Rise Against (like this) makes me think of anime and suicide.

exitenglish1208 (July 23, 2014)

i like this record a lot. it's weak at some points but i was pleasantly surprised

greenslate (July 23, 2014)

This review is a knee jerk pseudo analysis that revels in its own aspiration to sound knowledgable and trustworthy.

Black Market is a good fucking record.

faithisforfools (July 23, 2014)

Unfortunately, this is an accurate review.

Also, Appeal To Reason was released in 2008.

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