Rise Against
Appeal to Reason


3.5
great

Review

by John weathered old reviewer Hanson EMERITUS
October 7th, 2008 | 610 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A generally great record, featuring some of the best songs Rise Against have written, with perhaps a little too much filler.

One of the eternal debates of music is what makes an album better: a cohesive collection of songs that flow well and fit together, or individual standout songs that may have little in common. Whereas on The Sufferer & The Witness Rise Against made their “concept album”, with each song coming together and leaving you with the feeling you actually did hear some sort of story, Appeal to Reason is a much more traditional album, featuring no discernable story “concept” beyond the disaffection of the society of today. Mix into this is the fact that with every album Rise Against veer farther away from their punk roots, and you can imagine fans may get a bit annoyed with Appeal to Reason and its mainstream accessibility.

Yeah, it’s pretty much exactly like TS&TW sound wise. It’s full of punk riffs-gone-radio rock, sometimes “bored” vocals but for the most part contain enough catchy melodies to make up for it, and the basslines are still ridiculously good. It doesn’t ever really stray from the traditional verse-chorus song structure, but when you can write songs as good as “Long Forgotten Sons” within that context on a regular basis, experimentation isn’t really needed. The album is notable for the fact that it contains more mid-tempo songs than any other Rise Against record, and they are in general very strong numbers. Single “Re-Education (Through Labor)” kicks off with a more metal riff than one would have imagined coming into the album, and the opening line “To the sound of a heartbeat pounding away” is classic RA. The song may be a little too much like “Ready to Fall” for some, but it’s an excellent indication of what a lot of the album sounds like.

The big gripe with the album is its inconsistency. Speaking of the bad first, the middle of the album is just dreck, as “The Strength to Go On” through “Entertainment” are either just too standard to be special, or too weird and awkward to be good (“Entertainment” features a strange…polka-induced bridge that just doesn’t work at all). Now to speak of the terrible, “Hero of War” is a pleasant enough acoustic number that is ruined in every possible way by its awful lyrics. Speaking of the torture of prisoners in the new Iraq war, “They took off his clothes/They pissed in his hands/I told them to stop/Then I joined in” might be titillating to some, but most will just feel Tim has gone way too far with his concept here, and just cringe in disgust. While the song begins to redeem itself with its second verse, the first half is so bad, its hard to get over it and soldier on through to the rest.

Luckily after those 4 songs sort of rough up your listen, “Savior” comes in to save the record. One of the most inspired songs RA have written to date, RA forsake the political for a song of sweet, sad love. The chorus of “That’s when she said ‘I don’t hate you boy, I just wanna save you while there’s still something left to save”/That’s when I told her “I still love you girl but I’m not the answer for the questions that you still have” is one of the most poignant of the bands career, and the frenetic pace of the song is indication that they still have the passion from the days of Revolution per Minute. The beginning of the album also contains its fair share of gems, as “Collapse”, “The Dirt Whispered” and “From Heads Unworthy” all contain moments of pure magic (in particular “From Heads Unworthy” and the gang shouts in the chorus).

Appeal to Reason is admittedly ‘appealing’ to a larger audience than old fans will be comfortable with, as Rise Against become more and more comfortable with becoming mainstream. However, such a road has paid off for other bands in the past (Bad Religion has written some of their best records in their more accessible days, as have Strung Out), and it seems the same is happening for RA. While it may not be a classic record and won’t be the new soundtrack to the revolution, Appeal to Reason is filled with faux-punk rock anthems and memorable lyrics and basslines that will satiate anybodies need for Rise Against.

Recommended Tracks:
Savior
Long Forgotten Songs
Whereabouts Unknown
From Heads Unworthy



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user ratings (2032)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Davey Boy STAFF (4.5)
    The same base punk rock aesthetic as always, just in a more melodic and slickly produced p...

    G.B. (2.5)
    An album with little appeal, little reasoning behind its lack of quality, and worst of all...

    Julio Babilonia (3.5)
    Appeal To Reason won’t redefine the genre, it won’t be a classic, it won’t be hailed...

    YeahBaby (4.5)
    Its great to know the future of punk rock lies in a band as dedicated to combining the ele...

  • Corey (4)
    Rise Against release yet another solid album and take a step in the right direction . They...

    Chris Davanzo (3)
    Rise Against spin out of control......

    JumpTheF**kUp (2.5)
    Musically identical to past works, but lacking the passion that set them above the rest of...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Kage
October 7th 2008


1172 Comments


[QUOTE=review]One of the most inspired songs RA have wrote to date[/QUOTE]
have written

beans
October 7th 2008


2328 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

good review, i feel the same way about Hero of War. Good acoustic playing, but the lyrics are just hilariously bad

wakeupdead
October 7th 2008


2227 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

love this album, seeing them in december it's gonna be sick. Good review, and I agree that the sound of the album tone-wise is very similar to Sufferer...

Altmer
October 7th 2008


5700 Comments


faux-punk-rock

that is all I have to sayThis Message Edited On 10.07.08

mynameischan
Emeritus
October 7th 2008


17946 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

talk about ur generic summaries

Altmer
October 7th 2008


5700 Comments


faux-generic*

mynameischan
Emeritus
October 7th 2008


17946 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

altmer you bag of sand

Altmer
October 7th 2008


5700 Comments


was that an insult

anyway good review i just pointed out the faux because there is a faux in every iluvatar review

Mikesn
Emeritus
October 7th 2008


3708 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I agree with this mostly.

Altmer
October 7th 2008


5700 Comments


thats like 1/6th of your reviews

SnackaryBinx
October 7th 2008


2309 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Hero of War is the reason I have this as a 3 instead of a 3.5. it annoys me that much.

PanasonicYouth
October 7th 2008


7413 Comments


What, no talk of Whereabouts Unknown? Boo. Otherwise, great review.

SnackaryBinx
October 7th 2008


2309 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

he talked about Savior, good enough

Damrod
Moderator
October 7th 2008


1093 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

It must be that I can take much more lyric-wise than most here, as I do not find "hero Of War" anyway near as bad as everyone else here... :amaze:



Anyhow, good review, though I do not agree with you all the way through (I guess). Their last two albums both own this one if you ask me, even if this is their catchiest effort to date.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
October 7th 2008


22453 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Solid review John. While it might not have the imagination & entertainment factor of your usual reviews, it gets the job done, so don't sweat on it too much.

You actually make it sound as if you have been a rather big fan of the band in the past, when I don't remember that being the case!

I was a little surprised with no mention of the closer as well. Care to give us a line or 2 here about it in the Comments section...???

windpromoteshate
October 7th 2008


179 Comments


This isn't Metallica!

AtavanHalen
October 7th 2008


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Everytime I listen to Hero Of War, I imagine Chan pissing on someone with Tim McIlrath.

mynameischan
Emeritus
October 7th 2008


17946 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

take out "someone with" and that's what i imagine

AtavanHalen
October 7th 2008


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Stop!

AtavanHalen
October 7th 2008


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Actually, I'll join in.



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