Rise Against
The Black Market


3.5
great

Review

by Dan H. CONTRIBUTOR (54 Reviews)
July 14th, 2014 | 262 replies


Release Date: 07/15/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Rise again.

Some years ago in a bid to highlight the importance of dynamics, my old guitar teacher started slapping himself in the face repeatedly, with exactly the same amount of power each time. After less than 20 seconds he explained how numbing the sensation was, so he began alternating between harder and softer slaps instead. Sure enough he felt the purpose of each and every one, his body much more receptive to the changes in intensity – in a lesson which unsurprisingly never left me. It isn’t until you’ve experienced forty minutes of medium powered slaps to the face however that you really begin to appreciate the point of the demonstration, and the true importance of dynamics. 2011’s homogenous Endgame was the musical embodiment of those slaps, and it marked the moment when Rise Against fully embraced their formulaic sensibilities.

Ever since the well channelled aggression of The Sufferer and the Witness, Tim McIlrath has been slowly perfecting the art of the radio friendly alternative punk song. The formula focuses heavily on vocal hooks, and couples undeniably catchy choruses with strong, trademark bridges; resulting in unerring mid-tempo bonanzas. On paper at least it’s a winning formula - big vocals relaying even bigger hooks has resulted in many a memorable album, after all. In Rise Against’s case however, it was the sound of a band gradually diluting themselves, to the point where they became so palatable that absolutely nothing stuck. Fortunately, after you’ve finished listening to The Black Market you aren’t left feeling numb, and the increased variety throughout has resulted in the band’s strongest release since The Sufferer and the Witness.

Explosive single ‘The Eco-Terrorist in Me’ is a welcome nod to the past, featuring gruff shouts and galloping drums which are highly reminiscent of their earlier work. Most notably it channels a sense of focus which we’ve not seen from the band for some time, and it’s their first song clocking in at under 3 minutes since ‘Bricks’ and ‘Under the Knife’ on The Sufferer and the Witness - highlighting just how single minded they’ve been over the past 6 years in their pursuit of alternative punk perfection. Elsewhere, the title track features a brilliant chorus which weaves in and out of the song rather than acting solely as its centrepiece, and the chugging ‘Zero Visibility’ benefits from numerous tempo changes as it stutters and strides to completion. ‘People Live Here’ provides a welcome acoustic reprieve towards the album’s end, and it’s something which Endgame sorely missed. Its effectual chorus is underpinned by subtle strings, and although it doesn’t reach the emotional depths of ‘Roadside’ it does avoid talking about pissing on people’s hands, in one of the album’s highlights.

Of course not everything hits the mark, like the sugar coated pop punk of ‘Tragedy + Time’ which seems extraneous even amidst the variety, and the utterly forgettable ‘Awake Too Long’ which fails to leave any lasting impression at all. Despite these flaws however, The Black Market is still a big step in the right direction, and they’ve managed to avoid settling in the comfortable, formulaic rut which they’d created for themselves.



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user ratings (356)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • DanCry (1.5)
    if you heard one you heard them all!...

    renegadestrings (2)
    The Great Write-Off....

    Mike Denison (2.5)
    Awake too long....

    Nathan Taft (3)
    A hodgepodge of varied tracks that will not wholly alienate or please most respective segm...

  • H. (3.5)
    Rise Against have been damned. They have survived. The main question still looms, however ...

    Alex Dansereau (4)
    Chicago’s (other) mainstream punks regain their enthusiasm and a fair amount of energy....

    AbidingRADude (4.5)
    Rise Against's seventh album is an unexpected departure for them, but the new bag of trick...

    overdriveisclassy (3.5)
    Endgame 2.0 with a few surprises mixed in that you will either love or hate....

  • Peter K. Mark (3)
    An overall pleasant album, but one that still falls short of Rise Against's earlier materi...


Comments:Add a Comment 
VheissuCrisis
Contributing Reviewer
July 14th 2014


1034 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

True story.

Anyway, this is probably a 3.7, Endgame a 2.8, and ATR a 3.4.

BigPleb
July 14th 2014


37585 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Sweet review!

Around a 3.8 for me but ye, agree with most of the points you made!

Green Baron
July 14th 2014


20240 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Dammit, I was just going to post mine.

Artuma
July 14th 2014


15455 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

oook

Tunaboy45
July 14th 2014


2887 Comments


Need to give this a listen.

VheissuCrisis
Contributing Reviewer
July 14th 2014


1034 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thanks Pleb, what are your favourite tracks?

BigPleb
July 14th 2014


37585 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The Great Die-Off, t/t, Eco Terrorist, Beautiful Indifference, Methadone, Zero Visibility, People Live Here & Bridges.

Green Baron
July 14th 2014


20240 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'd take off t/t and I'd agree with you 100%.

VheissuCrisis
Contributing Reviewer
July 14th 2014


1034 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

We're all pretty much agreed with those.

BigPleb
July 14th 2014


37585 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Woohoo :]

VaxXi
July 14th 2014


716 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I feel like this album has a similar issue that Endgame has, which is the lack of lasting appeal. After a week I don't even feel like hearing much of the album's songs again. They may be good, but the lacking execution just makes it very forgettable.

I mean, Endgame actually does have more memorable tracks than Black Market. Good review regardless.

SnakeDelilah
July 14th 2014


8726 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

a damn good loaf of bread would be a great metaphor

Digging: The Antlers - Familiars

thelastsignal
July 14th 2014


1504 Comments


Awesome review, Dan. Mindpos. I definitely want to check this out, it's been years since I have listened to a full Rise Against album, so I am interested to see how this stacks up to their older stuff.

Digging: Achilles - Hospice

Green Baron
July 14th 2014


20240 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

You'll probably? be disappointed

VaxXi
July 14th 2014


716 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

@Lastsignal

SPOILER ALERT: The album takes a more introspective look at the current issues in life and abandon the political commentary for the most part. Which is my favorite aspect of the album, you can only stretch politics for so long as music topic before it grows stale (Which is something Flobots hasn't figured out yet)

The album also takes a more pop-punk sound to it, which in theory is a really awesome thing because pop-punk is legit. But the execution behind it is really, in my opinion lackluster. The energy and delivery in trucks and places are really fucked and besides a few stand out tracks like Damage + Time and People Live Here there isn't really anything to remember.

That's my opinion at least, the rest of this site seems to enjoy it which is nice. Though the pop-punk and introspective lyric stuff is true. The album is streaming on iTunes for free, theres leaks online, and im sure Youtube has them too. If you're waiting for its release tomorrow before you take a peek thats fine too.

ProjectFreak
July 14th 2014


1438 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

"it does avoid talking about pissing on people’s hands,"

official verdict: i am the only person who sorta likes that song

great review though

thelastsignal
July 14th 2014


1504 Comments


Thanks for the rundown, Vax. I like the older stuff that seems like it's a bit more aggressive, but I dig pop punk and introspection as well, so it seems to be a toss-up. I will definitely check out soon.

VheissuCrisis
Contributing Reviewer
July 14th 2014


1034 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Cheers Mark, appreciate it. Depending on how far back we're talking, I'd recommend Sufferer as it's
perfection, but out of their last 3 albums, Appeal to Reason has the strongest individual tracks with
too much filler, whilst this is stronger overall.

thelastsignal
July 14th 2014


1504 Comments


Haha I have heard the first three full-lengths in full, and like all of those. I've heard from many people that Sufferer was awesome.

VaxXi
July 14th 2014


716 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I myself prefer Sufferer and the Witness and Siren Song. Im on the same boat with Crisis on Appeal To Reason. Also I liked Hero Of War too, so don't worry.

Endgame was more coherent than AtR but had hardly any lasting appeal and abused the ever living fuck out of the RA! formula. But it does have a little lasting appeal. As for this album it does everything that Endgame did wrong, does it better, but then falls flat on its face on being memorable.

If I were to rank the albums best to worst it would be: Siren Song, Sufferer, Appeal To Reason, RPM, Black Market, debut album, and Endgame.

Their entire discography, even their stinkers are outstanding and are very much worth hearing. Good luck with Rise Against!



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