Review by Dom Vigil
Rise Against are more on top of their game than ever with the release of their newest full-length album, The Black Market. Sometimes, it’s easy for a band to fade into the background when they’ve been pumping out albums for ten plus years, but that’s not the case with Rise Against. The Black Market has just the same amount of high energy as their 2004 release Siren Song Of The Counter-Culture, only with more mature, hard hitting lyrics. This is a band that has managed to stay relevant while still sticking to their unique sound that fans fell in love with in the beginning.
Within the first couple of tracks of The Black Market, I’m hooked. The first chorus of the second song on the album (and the The Black Market’s first single) “I Don’t Want To Be Here Anymore,” is goose bump inducing, especially when all of the music fades out and you're just left with vocalist Tim McIlrath's rough voice. The vocals on this track are incredibly strong, but so are the guitar parts that keep the song upbeat, throwing the listener from fast-paced verses into slower, melodic choruses that have you singing along before the song is over. McIlrath belts out these slower parts in the chorus and the bridge and it’s gorgeous, especially when you can really hear the raspy-ness and grit in his voice.
The third track on The Black Market, “Tragedy + Time,” is a much more poppy song, which is a bit of a change for Rise Against, but it couldn’t be any better. The lyrics are really positive and hit home with any listener who’s been through a hard time, and the emotion in McIlrath’s voice just makes it that much more relatable. In fact, that raw emotion and the powerful lyrics are definitely two of the best aspects of this album. Over the years, Rise Against have more than mastered the ability to write hard-hitting, catchy and above anything else, relatable tracks.
Another stand out aspect on The Black Market is the way that Rise Against structures their songs with higher energy, fast paced verses that lead into slowed down, melodic choruses. While it sometimes makes a few of the tracks sound a little too similar to one another, this song structure is definitely what sets Rise Against apart from other acts in their genre.
Arguably two of the best tracks on The Black Market come at the end of the album. The second to last song on the album, “People Live Here” is the only the acoustic track on the album, and not only is it the perfect placement for the slow, broken down song, it’s all-around just a great track as well. Tim McIlrath’s raspy vocals coupled with the acoustic guitars and the string instruments make this song a beautiful ballad and definitely worth repeating a few times before the album ends. “Bridges” comes right after “People Live Here” and easily picks the pace right back up for a strong ending to the record. It’s honestly just the perfect ending to the album – it’s both hard and emotional and leaves you wanting more.
While I’ve always been a casual listener of Rise Against, ready to sing along with their hits on the radio, but but never a die-hard fan, The Black Market has definitely managed to change that. This album, with it’s powerful choruses where everything seems to come together, amazing bass parts (which are hard to find and frequently lost in the music with most bands) and the ridiculously relatable lyrics, has definitely made me realize what I’ve been missing out on with Rise Against. This is a band that is “here to stay” as Tim McIlrath yells in their track “A Beautiful Indifference,” and I’m definitely excited to see where they go next.
Listen to "I Don't Want To Be Here Anymore"