RISE AGAINST

Australian Guitar - - Cd Reviews -

Wolves VIR­GIN

Punks are at their best when they’re ut­terly pissed off, and Amer­ica’s re­cent swing into con­ser­vatism has turned Rise Against into a tow­er­ing in­ferno. Their last few records were re­leased un­der a demo­cratic ad­min­is­tra­tion they gen­er­ally agreed with, which took a bit of bite out of the band. Wolves, on the other hand, harks back to a younger Rise Against: not in the sense that they’ve re­turned to their hard­core roots – they haven’t traded out the trademark ac­ces­si­ble melodies for the sear­ing venom of clas­sic po­lit­i­cal hard­core – but the shitty state of af­fairs has reawak­ened a raw pas­sion, fu­elled by frus­tra­tion that won’t ac­cept the right-wing sta­tus quo. Where the last two al­bums floated around var­i­ous so­cial is­sues, Wolves has a clear, con­tem­po­rary tar­get that keeps the band on track, am­pli­fy­ing the ef­fect of their an­themic sing-along cho­ruses, roar­ing riffs and vein­puls­ing, sweat-drenched en­thu­si­asm. Un­for­tu­nately, the mighty howl is re­duced to a clichéd whim­per ev­ery now and then, as Rise Against fill time be­tween hard-hit­ters with at­tempted heart­felt songs that feel like they were writ­ten on the fly. But Wolves man­ages to re­build mo­men­tum, for the most part, by in­vok­ing a sense of unity as it ig­nores the in­di­vid­ual en­e­mies and in­stead at­tacks prevalent con­ser­va­tive and re­gres­sive ide­olo­gies. Peo­ple come and go, but with­out th­ese foun­da­tions, they won’t have a leg to stand on in the fu­ture. Sim­ple stuff? Maybe, but Rise Against’s clear cut com­mu­niqué – one that en­cour­ages unity in tough times – can stave off so­cial apathy at the very least. And that’s some­thing that a lot of peo­ple need right now. PETER ZALUZNY

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