Rise Against
Appeal to Reason


2.5
average

Review

by Green Baron USER (103 Reviews)
July 3rd, 2013 | 35 replies | 1,248 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: An album with little appeal, little reasoning behind its lack of quality, and worst of all, uncertainty for the future.

9 of 9 thought this review was well written

Major label deals always cause a bit of controversy within a band's fanbase. Sometimes, like in Green Day's Dookie, a band's major label debut will wind up being the band's most highly regarded album. Other bands, however, like Anti-Flag, will take a major label deal only top put out some of the worst albums in their career. When Rise Against signed to Geffen in 2003, leaving behind Fat Wreck Chords, many of their fans worried that their sound would become mainstream, and lose the hardcore elements of their brilliant first two albums. Luckily, the band's next two albums were great, even if their sound was more refined than their predecessors. Maybe signing with a major label wasn't a complete mistake for Rise Against.

If only they hadn't realized Appeal to Reason.

Everything that the fans had feared about joining a major label were completely present on this album. Siren Song and Sufferer’s sound may have both been easily more polished than RPM, but at least they still had their bursts of hardcore moments in them (“State of the Union”, “Give It All”). Yet with Appeal to Reason, you could barely even remember that Rise Against were once a punk band. All thirteen tracks on this album were made to be played on mainstream rock radio, and the album’s singles actually granted Rise Against some of their biggest hits in their entire career. Most of the songs on Appeal sound like they could have been from Three Days Grace, Breaking Benjamin or any other mainstream rock outfit.

Above all things, the worst part is that Tim McIlrath just sounds bored most of the time. Albums like Revolutions per Minute or Sufferer & the Witness were great mainly because of his energetic vocals and screams. But on Appeal, his voice is drained of all energy and passion that he had on previous albums. When he cries, “We are the children you reject and disregard” on “From Heads Unworthy”, he does it with such monotony and dullness, making it hard to believe and/or relate to what he has to say. Similarly, his yell of “A crack in the surface, a flaw in the plan” on “Hairline Fracture” would be relatable if he actually sang it like he meant it, and not like he wanted to finish the recording session as fast as he could.

The worst part of the album is easily its middle section. From “The Dirt Whispered” to “Entertainment”, Appeal to Reason slaps you in the ear over and over again with boring mainstream radio filler that all sound the same. The worst offender is “Audience of One”, one of Rise Against’s slowest songs in their entire discography. It’s boring, it’s cheesy, and it drags on for four minutes, achieving nothing but mainstream success. “We ran away, now all my friends are gone”, croons McIlrath, and he’s right. By running away from their signature punk rock sound, they lost thousands of loyal supporters. Another screw-up was “Entertainment”, which has a peculiar polka-style bridge that doesn’t fit in at all with the rest of the mediocre radio rock song. Even “Hero of War”, an acoustic ballad, is ruined by its horrible lyrics about soldiers who commit war crimes in the Middle East. It has a nice concept, but “They took off his clothes and pissed in his hands”, is just cringe-inducing and completely unnecessary.

Even through all the crap that the album offers, Rise Against still put out some of that magic that was present in previous albums. “Collapse (Post-Amerika)” opens the album with a fiery, past-faced punk tune that boasts an incredibly catchy chorus and bridge. “Re-Education (Through Labor)” manages to overcome its mainstream sound and become one of the most infectious songs on the album, complete with an excellent guitar riff and lyrics about the struggle to make ends meet. “Savior” is probably the song that people recognize Rise Against for, and it’s pretty easy to see why. With a fast and furious guitar riff, great vocals and decent lyrical matter about a troubled relationship, “Savior” is a well-crafted punk song that is reminiscent of RPM or Sufferer, with its fast tempo and powerful vocals. Lastly, “Whereabouts Unknown” closes out the album on a strong note, almost making up for all of its weaknesses. It starts out slowly, building up energy, before the song’s infectious guitar riff comes in. When Tim cries, “These whereabouts unknown, please know you can come home; it’s alright, it’s alright”, you can feel the emotion and yearning in his voice, especially during the more subdued sections of the song. To top it all off, Tim pulls some excellent screams in the song’s bridge. It’s moments like this that would have been made a disappointing album more tolerable.

Appeal to Reason is easily Rise Against’s worst effort yet. With only four good songs and around ten forgettable and boring ones, this album has little to no lasting value. Its highlights may be extraordinary, but when the rest is just repetitive, monotonous mainstream rock that isn’t worth a second listen, why bother? Rise Against seem to be stretching out their audience into the radio listeners, because I wouldn’t be surprised if “Audience of One” got daily play on my local radio station. I would have been surprised if “Give It All” was played even once, but the past is the past, and the sound that worked so well for them on Siren Song should have been the sound that was on Appeal. I can understand Zach Blair is a pretty great guitarist, especially since this is his first album with the band. And, as always, Joe Principe and Brandon Barnes are stellar with the bass and drums. Yet, in the end, the album’s appeals are far and wide, and the band’s reasons for adopting a more mainstream sound are unknown. Rise Against can try to recapture the legacy of their glory days, but those are far behind them, and what’s ahead is uncertain.



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user ratings (1691)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Chris Davanzo (3)
    Rise Against spin out of control......

    Davey Boy STAFF (4.5)
    The same base punk rock aesthetic as always, just in a more melodic and slickly produced p...

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

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

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

    John weathered old reviewer Hanson STAFF (3.5)
    A generally great record, featuring some of the best songs Rise Against have written, with...

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


Comments:Add a Comment 
teslabarrier
July 3rd 2013



64 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

agreed so hard. album sucks. some good songs on it, though. whereabouts is probably my fav RA song

Crawl
July 3rd 2013



1557 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nah, it's fine.

Cygnatti
July 3rd 2013



21349 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Average album. Some jams, lotta duds. Entertainment goes hard.

Digging: The Avalanches - Since I Left You

ChopSuey
July 3rd 2013



2392 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

nice summary

DinosaurJones
July 3rd 2013



490 Comments


I'm a fan of "The Dirt Whispered," but you're right, this album does leave a lot to be desired.

Mongi123
Contributing Reviewer
July 3rd 2013



9129 Comments


Savior is better than anything Three Days Grace made. The review really reads lower than a 2.5. You say in the summary the album has no appeal and yet you say it has appeal in the review. Pos'd cause you wrote this very well, but don't agree with the rating.

DegausserGuernica24
July 3rd 2013



1134 Comments


'Sometimes Selling Out is Giving Up'

Green Baron
July 3rd 2013



18162 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

edited summary to say "little" appeal (though doesn't sound as nice). some tracks are great, but the rest is just bad.

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

precursororbs
July 3rd 2013



27 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

pos'd. this album has no appeal. saviour is overrated, but whereabouts & kotov are nice.

Green Baron
July 3rd 2013



18162 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

the thing is, listening to RPM and Sufferer right before this just makes it even more disappointing.

DegausserGuernica24
July 3rd 2013



1134 Comments


A 1.5 rating means that all tracks on the album are bad but a few include some substance.

DegausserGuernica24
July 3rd 2013



1134 Comments


Take for example: Green Day's iUNO! trilogy. Horrible lyrics, generic riffs, easily stale, but somewhat catchy at few points.

IbenizGEO1
July 3rd 2013



2258 Comments


I came here to say I love Chopped Suey's avatar and if they re-released it like that I'd buy 6 copies

Oh and rise against mehh too political and mediocre music.

precursororbs
July 3rd 2013



27 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

green day's trilogy was a 4 what are u saying.uno bad but dos and tre good

Artuma
July 3rd 2013



10740 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

good review. album is p damn boring

Digging: 68 - In Humor and Sadness

DegausserGuernica24
July 3rd 2013



1134 Comments


I wasn't telling you to agree with me, I was just giving an example.

ChopSuey
July 3rd 2013



2392 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Long Forgotten Sons is the best song here imo. I remember listening to this all the time when I first got it, but I haven't jammed it since then.

@IbenizGEO1 ty

ViperAces
July 3rd 2013



12377 Comments


its easy not to notice

sonictheplumber
July 3rd 2013



4268 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

horrible band

FourthReich
July 3rd 2013



17071 Comments


agreed

Digging: Dot Hacker - How's Your Process? (Work)



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