Rise Against’s last few records were released under a democratic administration that 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, with a reawakened 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 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 attacks prevalent conservative and regressive ideologies. P.Z.