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If there is one thing that Rise Against can do, more than anything, is kick off an album. Dear lord do they take off with your heart with the first song, “The Great Die Off,” off their seventh full length, The Black Market.
With emotionally charged lyrics like, “We want it all and we want it all,” The four piece, Chicago-based punktavists march through their first song with fierce guitars, deafening drums and one raw voice with lead singer Tim McIlrath.
Thankfully, RA stays pace next with lead single, and possible Song Of The Year Candidate, “I Don’t Want To Be Here Anymore” that roars through a sing-along chorus and some trademarked yells to give the fans exactly what they want with Rise Against.
Next comes the slower paced, sentimental and mildly commercial, “Tragedy + Time,” which while having a strong chorus and some slick arrangements (the intro), it still does fall short of the lofty path that the first two songs left for it. “It said, "Do what is right," they build higher walls/Where we can't shed a light, on true criminals/When business and suffering are one and the same."
While the entirety of the album may suffer a bit from some formulaic approaches, with just a few misdirections throughout the LP, it still bears possibly the strongest lyrics out of any rock outfit out there, possessing lyrics ranging from dealing with tragedy, environmental precautions all the way to religious zealotry, RA continues to be on the forefront of meaningful punk bands.
“From the penthouse to the holy martyr/Sea to shining sea/From the coffins full of kindergartners/Is this what you call free?”
All the while still being enjoyable and meaningful, McIlrath and crew seem to try so hard to break out of their punk-rock shell that they suffer artistically. That’s not to say that they just copy and pasted their old songs with some new features, the songs are new and as introspective as ever and are coupled with phenomenal rock progressions.
But what’s really disconcerting is the absence of the hardcore edge of Rise Against. Without really any yells or growls, the album disappoints many who look to RA to bridge the thin line between annoying ‘screamo’ and enjoyable Rock.
The latter half of the album is still quite substantial as well, as songs “People Live Here” and “Bridges” punch through the listener’s consciousness with enjoyable prowess.
Personally, The Black Market is exactly what I wanted from Rise Against, nothing more, nothing less, but the casual listener may not be impressed and the willing convert also may have some hesitation. After the first kick-ass tracks, the album does level off into some strong, traditional Rise Against territory, stopping frequently to add some mix to the rock.
Really, for the Rock fan, this album is a mainstay. In “A Beautiful Indifference,” McIlrath finishes off one of the stronger songs on the album with “But this time I'm here to stay.”
Let’s hope for rock 'n' roll’s sake that they stay making music forever.