Review: Rise Against – The Black Market

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Artist: Rise Against
Album: The Black Market
Rating: 9.7/10

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past several years, you’ll have heard of Chicago’s Punk titans, Rise Against. If you pay attention to this band at all, they are all about exposing the flaws in our system, our world and ourselves. However, on the other hand, they are more about finding ways to unite and fix these flaws, rather than let them tear us apart. Most notably, the songs you might know from this band are “Prayer of the Refugee”, “Re-Education (Through Labor)”, “Swing Life Away” “Satellites” and “Savior”. All of these songs have an anti-war or anti-political undertone. These guys, especially vocalist Tim McIlrath, have never been ones to stray away from the more feared subjects. Whether it be suicide, human trafficking, living as a refugee, the effects of this long-lived war that we’re in or anything in between, you can be sure that, if Tim has an opinion on a subject.. you can expect to hear it in a song at some point. Their latest offering, The Black Market, like it’s predecessors, touches on many different subjects which are all focused on a central theme. Take their latest single, “I Don’t Wanna Be Here Anymore”, for example. This track hits hard on how it feels when things have gone so wrong with the world around you that you don’t view it as a home anymore. You want nothing more than to escape, to start anew.

I’ll be honest, given the fact that EndGame has been my absolute favorite Rise Against release, I had no idea what to expect with The Black Market. That’s just how they like it, though! With each release, we get a different sound from the band. They manage to give their music room to breathe, yet still keep just enough of the essence OF their trademarked sound to keep fans content. There are some really heavy parts on The Black Market (see: “The Eco-Terrorist in Me”) that I don’t remember hearing in any recent material. In fact, the last time I remember hearing something truly heavy coming from them was on Siren Song of the Counter Culture, their third studio album, released in 2004. This being their first release on a MAJOR label, you’d expect them to stick to a certain sound for awhile but you will quickly learn to expect the unexpected with RA. What makes them so different, though? What would draw anyone to their music? Is it their ability to be honest, despite the touchy subjects they hit on? Is it the fact that they manage to evoke such deep emotions within the listener? Is it, perhaps, Tim’s ability to make any amount of words flow perfectly? If you check out songs like “Tragedy + Time” and “A Beautiful Indifference”, you will notice that there is a slightly melancholy tone underneath the seemingly upbeat sound of the songs themselves. What makes these worth noting is that, while they have that slight tone of sadness, they manage to emit it in entirely different ways.

I could go on and on about how amazing Rise Against is at their jobs, why you should stop what you’re doing and listen to them and why I, personally, love everything they’ve put out but that’s not my intent here. The Black Market is, as always, lyrically strong, emotion-evoking, pleasing to the ear and takes the listener on a journey through the psyche of one of the best punk vocalists on the scene today. If you’ve enjoyed Rise Against before, you will love every minute of The Black Market. So what are you waiting for? Go pick up your copy of Rise Against’s The Black Market out now on DGO/Interscope Records! You’ll thank me for it later!

“I Don’t Wanna Be Here Anymore” (Official Music Video)

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