‘Appeal’ to not much

With the release of their 5th studio album, “Appeal To Reason,” Rise Against has reiterated that they still hate the way our country runs itself and that they still really enjoy making loud, hardcore rock.
    If their press release that accompanied the CD that landed in our newsroom hadn’t been so insistent on their creativity and unique artistry, I’d have been more inclined to appreciate their attempt. But unfortunately, their assertion that they aren’t putting out songs “with a cookie-cutter, assembly line mentality, cramming albums with formulaic songwriting, by-the-book tolerances,” is quite nauseating.
    Artists who feel the need to defend their craft as “new,” “post-something” or “experimental” are often the most insecure — for all the right reasons.
    Rise Against’s new album is nothing more than formulaic songwriting. It has verses and it has choruses — some even attempting melodic hooks — but it doesn’t have much more.
    For the casual listener, there will be no distinction in artistic growth from their previous albums.
    For the avid fan, it will be just another straight 50 minutes of overused distorted guitars, punk drumbeats and the trademark crescendo scream at the end of a song.
    If that’s your thing, you’ll enjoy this album. It’s got plenty of that.
    But if you prefer music that isn’t merely power chord riffs conjoined into clichéd diatonic progressions, then anything after the first song is legally defined by international law as torture.
    “Collapse (Post Amerika)” [sic] starts like an Offspring song from 14 years ago, but at least the lyrics try to convey a sense of dissatisfaction with America’s foreign policy, which is just about the only thing relevant about this album.
    Only one song on “Appeal To Reason” features a clear and audible, non-distorted acoustic guitar, but its soothing quality quickly warps into a Creed-like song, but lacking the unexplainable palatability. Like much of the album, it’s easily disregarded as filler.
    Singer Tim McIlrath’s melodies are stagnant and lack catchy intervallic leaps. He comfortably stays near the root of the chord and follows the guitar around like a lost puppy.
     The hardcore “scene” has been boring for years, but now it’s at a place where it can’t get any worse. Unless Rise Against starts making more interesting sounds with their “talent,” they will be condemned as another laughing stock of the past come 10 years.
Still, it is a huge band and this album will undoubtedly go platinum. The band has garnered a loyal fan base, but for career’s sake, Rise Against members can only hope that their fans don’t grow up and become bored with their angry sound.

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