Published Jul 11, 2014It's been eight years since Rise Against's landmark record The Sufferer & The Witness, which was characterized by masterfully meshed pop-punk melody and hooks with hardcore fury and politically-conscious lyrics. Since then, they've made some pretty forgettable material, but on their seventh studio album, the Chicago quartet manages to take a few fresh steps lyrically. This time around, they have aimed their crosshairs at armchair activists and the Occupy movement in "A Beautiful Indifference," and get surprisingly introspective on tracks like "Methadone," which describes a crumbling relationship. "I Don't Want to Be Here Anymore," meanwhile, tells of a longing to escape and move on from a losing battle.
Musically, however, The Black Market is just more of the same. Guitars and drums launch their sonic onslaught, and choruses are still lined with crowd-ready woah-ohs and heys. Even "People Live Here," the album's acoustic protest song, directly echoes "Hero of War" from Appeal to Reason. The band manages not to compromise their sound, but on The Black Market, the formula is growing stale. (Interscope)