Rise Against gives old, new fans a ‘reason’ to listen

By Daniel Torres

Rise Against is back with its latest album, “Appeal to Reason.”
The follow-up to 2006’s “The Suffer and the Witness” is the band’s
third record produced by Bill Stevenson, former drummer for Black
Flag and The Descendents. The album brings back the Rise Against
sound that many loyal fans have grown to appreciate, but features
ballads that will attract new fans and excite veteran fans. “I
think it really focused on what we wanted to do. We’re one of those
bands that really has a strong identity and wants to stay true to
its sound and what we originally set out to do, ” said guitarist
Zach Blair. With the new album, the band is taking steps forward
with their sound. “I think it just kind of defines itself. Tim
[McIlrath] and Joe [Principe] write the basics of the songs. They
bring things in and everyone gets a hold of it,” said Blair. “Tim
of course writes the lyrics, so I think it’s just the lyrics find
their way into the song.” Rise Against is known for its
politically-charged songs, which range from songs about the
government to the war on terrorism and animal rights. “This is a
band, although pretty political, not every song is political. Some
songs are about situations or relationships or whatever,” said
Blair. “I don’t think there’s a set agenda to go ‘we need to make
this political,’ I just think it’s the mood you’re in when you’re
writing a song.” The first single off the album is “Re-education
Through Labor,” which is about how U.S. soldiers are constantly
fighting and putting their lives in danger. “We wrote the song
because we like the song, but it was chosen as the first lead out
for the record for everybody to hear because I think it kind of
encapsulates what the record’s about,” said Blair. “It’s
unmistakably Rise Against, so I think it was a great summarization
of the record.” Another significant war-related song on the album
is “Hero of War.” The song tells the story of a young man who is
given the chance to “see the world” if he joins the military and
the acts he witnesses while overseas. Blair said every song on the
album has certain meanings to the band members. For Blair, that
song is “Whereabouts Unknown,” the album’s last track. “To me, it’s
just kind of a cool feel, kind of almost a metalish kind of riff.
We’re all sort of metal heads at heart, so it was kind of fun to be
able to do that,” said Blair. Rise Against gave its fans a taste of
their new music at this past summer’s Warped Tour. Rise Against
wrapped up a soldout, three-night stint at the Hollywood Palladium
this past weekend.

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