The first time I was introduced to Rise Against was at a show way back in 2003, where they were actually the opening act for the likes of Against Me! and Anti-Flag. I’ve since grown to love their music, and while I’ll admit some of their later releases haven’t been as effective as their older material, I still haven’t turned my back on them like so many of the other “cool kids” have simply because they’ve experienced some mainstream success (it’s ignorant to label a band “sell outs” merely for advancing in their career, especially when they’ve stayed true to their original sound for the most part). Either way, on their first release since 2014’s The Black Market, Rise Against continues to prove they’ve still “got it,” releasing probably their best work since 2003’s Revolutions Per Minute (still a modern day masterpiece in my book).
Starting things off on a high note with its promising title track, Wolves is filled with more than enough thought-provoking and often inspiring moments. Heartfelt tracks like “Far From Perfect,” “Politics of Love,” and “House on Fire” all manage to tug at the emotions, while simultaneously remaining strong. Other numbers like ”How Many Walls,” “Parts Per Million,” “Mourning in Amerika,” and “The Violence,” (the song now surrounded by some controversy after the recent shutdown of its video’s production) all make valid social commentary. Each song still contains the same signature ingredients (both musically and lyrically) that’s always made this band so enduring. Eight albums in, and these guys are still just as epic as they’ve ever been; naysayers can go ahead and continue to miss out. In the four years I’ve been reviewing for New Noise Magazine, I can’t remember ever granting an album a full five-star rating (if anyone deserves it, it’s these guys), and I could care less about those who disagree (ultimately their loss anyhow).