Rise Against
The Black Market


4.0
excellent

Review

by Alex Dansereau USER (10 Reviews)
July 12th, 2014 | 44 replies


Release Date: 07/15/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Chicago’s (other) mainstream punks regain their enthusiasm and a fair amount of energy.

There are certain bands that seem to be eternal, constants in an ever-changing musical landscape. As countless groups in their respective genres come and go, these bands are able to stay stable and put out consistently solid music by keeping their trademark sounds while providing just enough of a twist to stay fresh. Genre staples like AC/DC, Iron Maiden and Bruce Springsteen have stood the test of time not because they constantly reinvented their sound, but because the music they made held up well in their respective genres, and they have added enough nuance and/or variety to their sound to make each album stand out. It can be argued that today’s mainstream hard rock/punk scene has been lacking a true constant band such as this, but with The Black Market, it’s clear that they’ve been here all along, and their name is Rise Against.

Prior to the release of The Black Market, Rise Against frontman Tim McIlrath gave a series of interviews, including one with Alternative Press, in which he stated, among other things, that the new album contained “no song for everybody”, and that the band doesn’t “need to try and go for big choruses and rock sing-alongs if we don’t want to”. These assertions, while not necessarily untrue, are ultimately misleading in terms of the actual sound of the album. While The Black Market does frequently come across as the band’s most personal album, with lyrics focusing more on internal turmoil than political strife, that doesn’t translate to much of a change in the band’s actual sound. And for this band, that’s perfectly fine.

From the opening track, “The Great Die-Off”, it is clear that the album will offer more of Rise Against’s trademark emotive melodic hardcore, tackling difficult political and socioeconomic issues while always keeping the focus on their human impact. The song begins with a brief orchestral intro that builds into an energetic opening, typical of Rise Against albums. It is immediately noticeable that McIlrath's vocal performance on this album will be a step up from his often flat showings in the band’s two previous, occasionally lackluster, records - Appeal to Reason and Endgame. The lyrics, which use global warming and tidal waves crashing down as metaphors for border unrest and political instability in the United States, have a sense of urgency that was often missing in the band’s more sanitized recent albums. It is as if without the Bush Administration to rail against, the band had lost their primary motivating factor for making political songs… but something changed along the way to The Black Market, and the band regained their spark. It’s a subtle change, but it makes all the difference.

At times, the album feels reminiscent of the band’s greatest mainstream work, The Sufferer & The Witness. This can be felt thematically, such as in “Tragedy + Time”, a song with an almost pop punk-esque riff that echoes the thoughts of suicide and eventual triumph over depression that were felt on “Ready to Fall”. And it is also felt sonically on the blistering track “The Eco-Terrorist In Me”, a fast-paced, intense hardcore number that is a return to the band’s roots, and marks McIlrath’s first substantial use of harsh vocals in some time. The album comes to a close with “Bridges”, an emotional, poignant finale with a trademark tempo change leading into the chorus:

“We built the bridges
We now sleep under
We frame the door ways
We may not pass through

The very same roads
That we now wander
Who once you pass us by on
We paved with our bare hands
Paved with our bare hands”

As a band, Rise Against has never been afraid of asking the tough questions, and this is especially true on The Black Market, and in “Bridges” in particular. What will become of a society in which stagnation has replaced progress? In which the middle class that built the backbone of society becomes an increasingly rare species, as the income gap continues to widen? In which we spit upon the very earth that builds the foundation for our sustainability and way of life? These questions do not have easy or palatable answers, but this band is one of the few in mainstream rock that is willing to ask them. And they do so on this album with a renewed vigor and sense of direction, producing a tight, enjoyable work that forces the listener to ponder the human implications of a world where an ever-expanding population is consuming an ever-dwindling set of resources. While The Black Market may not quite reach the heights of Rise Against's independent albums or first two major label releases, it is still a worthwhile listen, and in the end, that can be just as satisfying as a band reinventing the wheel with every release.



Recent reviews by this author
Hands Like Houses ReimagineEmarosa Versus
The Color Morale Hold On Pain EndsDeaf Havana Old Souls
VIS No WavesWovenwar Wovenwar
user ratings (326)
Chart.
3.5
great
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
fallenbird
July 11th 2014


3885 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like how you highlighted the lyrics, RA lyrics are top notch.

Digging: Sugary Sweet Machines - Controlled Breathing

fallenbird
July 11th 2014


3885 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Have a pos.

beachdude42
July 11th 2014


235 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thank you sir... I checked out your Endgame review and dug it a lot, even though I think this album is better.

Digging: Finch (US) - Back To Oblivion

fallenbird
July 11th 2014


3885 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It is definitely better I would agree. Mostly because this has songs like A Beautiful Indifference and Zero Visibility.

GreyShadow
July 11th 2014


465 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

So far I prefer Endgame to this. Architects, Endgame, Survivor Guilt, and especially Midnight Hands are some of the band's best songs. And the rest, minus a few tracks, is all fantastic.
Eco-Terrorist is phenomenal. The Great Die-Off, Bridges, The Black Market, Tragedy + Time and People Live Here (which has some of my favorite RA lyrics of all time and that's definitely saying something) are all really great. Zero Visibility is also really great but I don't think it's as good as most of you are saying. Still, it definitely wins points in the originality department.
Overall a solid 4

Futures
July 11th 2014


11163 Comments


a correct score finally people are being really critical of this

Digging: Alt-J - This Is All Yours

Funeralopolis
July 12th 2014


11408 Comments


better than endgame

Digging: Black Milk - No Poison No Paradise

Futures
July 12th 2014


11163 Comments


easily

Kris.
July 12th 2014


12345 Comments


album certainly brings the zzz's

Futures
July 12th 2014


11163 Comments


no

fallenbird
July 12th 2014


3885 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Album brings the m/

VaxXi
July 12th 2014


510 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This is easily Rise Againsts worst, even if it does have some things going for it that make it better than Endgame. Endgame has a more lasting appeal, these songs get bland real quick.

Killerhit
July 12th 2014


5250 Comments


can we really compare bruce springsteen, someone entirely different and discrete in time period and genre, to RA?

still your review rocks, certainly makes me interested in this album.

beachdude42
July 12th 2014


235 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

can we really compare bruce springsteen, someone entirely different and discrete in time period and genre, to RA?


I wasn't really trying to compare him to RA, I was trying to think of examples of that sort of consistency, and for some reason he's one of the first I thought of lol... thanks by the way.

FCY
July 12th 2014


206 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Their most boring album to date.

Review is excellent, though. Have a pos.

GreyShadow
July 12th 2014


465 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I really don't think i'll ever get the Endgame hate...it's probably my 3rd favorite by them.

Killerhit
July 12th 2014


5250 Comments


god damn bridges rocks, the tempo changes and focus on vocals really works in its favor

and i certainly didn't expect the alt rock ness of zero visibility

Futures
July 12th 2014


11163 Comments


yeah if you don't think this is better than endgame and appeal to reason you're retarded

Killerhit
July 12th 2014


5250 Comments


well i have always been a retard so

Futures
July 12th 2014


11163 Comments


dude but this rocks



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy