Rise Against- Endgame

'Oh yes, Rise Against's new album. That'll probably be quite good.' What we see demonstrated here is something called 'underestimation'. As soon as thunderous galloping opening track 'Architects' kicks in it becomes clear that "Endgame" is entirely worthy of your full attention and admiration. Rise Against have not allowed themselves to buckle under the pressure of following up 2008's blinding "Appeal To Reason" and have in fact returned with a sound more explosive and dauntless than ever.

First single from the album was 'Help Is On The Way', and it must have been hard to choose because the fact is almost any one of the tracks could easily have been chosen for release. The flavour is anthemic, commanding and resistant; just as we have come to expect from these Chicago punk rockers. The gruff rasp of Tim McIlrath still has plenty to speak out about, this time focussing on the aftermath of real world events. The spoken word intro of 'Survivor Guilt' and the young choral voices in 'Make It Stop (September's Children)' puts the album's content into context and gives it that added element of 'real meaning'. However, the potentially depressing subject matter is of course given the boost of righteous uprising and strength, the musical equivalent of when a resurrected and glowing Gandalf the White appears over the hilltop towards the end of "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King". Rise Against would surely kick the shit out of Sauron and his poxy little army of Orcs. The melodic quality of tracks like 'Midnight Hands' with harmonic layerings and energetic drum spills bring a tempo loaded with positivity and a desire to work towards better things.

The pace of this album is indeed pretty intense so be warned... and maybe re-think whether its a good idea to have it on your iPod when you go to the gym because keeping in rhythm may result in causing yourself a mischief. 'Disparity By Design' has such a tasty little twanging guitar riff threaded between the infectious choruses and abrasive cries you can get a bit lost in it. And hands up who's a fan of positive punk rock singalongs? 'This Is Letting Go' is the track you're looking for. It's got one of those perfectly balanced choruses in terms of riffing, soaring vocal with an injection of 'Hey! Hey! Hey!'. We all like one of them.

This is one irresistible album. It's a bit of a sexy punk rock thrill from beginning to end; quite literally with 'Architects' and 'Endgame' being the sturdiest of sonic bookends to hold the body of sound together. It's packed full of effrontery, energy and poignancy (see 'Wait For Me' for the latter... as the chorus belts in you may catch your breath a little.) Rise Against are just a force that is never going to rest, which is something to be very happy about indeed.