Endgame review by Rise Against

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  • Released: Mar 15, 2011
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.9 (179 votes)
Rise Against: Endgame
3

Sound — 8
On its sixth studio record Endgame, Rise Against doesn't mince words when it comes to delivering honest social and political commentary which is exactly what you'd hope for from any of today's contemporary punk bands. The album arrives at a sadly appropriate time between the chaos that's occurred recently in Egypt and the horrific earthquake/tsunami in Japan, even though the band members were garnering inspiration from a bevy of other world incidents (Hurricane Katrina, the oil spill, etc.) while writing the lyrical content for Endgame. Although the band has confirmed that Endgame is most definitely not a concept album in the traditional sense, its dismal-yet-real reflections do make an impact as a whole.

In terms of the musical content, Rise Against continues in the melodically driven punk sounds of bands like Bad Religion, who coincidentally they will be touring with this year. The band isn't reinventing the wheel with their 11 new tracks, but the energy and catchy melodies (all delivered with a subtle dose of aggression) make for an engaging listen. The first single off the record Help Is On The Way is easily the most memorable, from its infectious intro to its varied musical transitions. That particularly song also features one of the few moments where vocalist Tim McIlrath veers into screamo territory albeit briefly.

There are quite a few tracks that revolve around that key vibrant energy and steady, sharp strumming from guitarist Zach Blair (Endgame marks his second Rise Against record). Broken Mirrors and Midnight Hands are standouts in terms of the guitar work, with the latter broaching an all-out metal genre. The band tackles metal so well with Midnight Hands, in fact, this particular reviewer hopes they'll explore that side a bit more in the future. Survivors Guilt features a more retrained guitar part, but the pick work is still effective. The strength of A Gentlemen's Coup lies within its more stagnated phrasing of the vocals and guitar, while Architects sounds like it is a shoe-in for the next single thanks to its sing-along chorus.

Lyrics — 9
There is enough vagueness to the lyrical content on Endgame that you could associate the songs with pretty much any natural or human-caused strife/disaster occurring in the world today. This is an album that steers clear of relationship or love talk, and in many ways that is one of the most refreshing aspects of Endgame. Granted, that means there aren't many soft-and-cuddly moments, but that was probably the point. Whether it's the calamity-filled reflection in Midnight Hands (Eyes open slowly as the dust is shaken off; To gaze upon the wreckage; That the midnight hands have wrought) or the equally bleak title track (When they're burning signal fires; To guide us to the fields; We're building funeral pyres; They all commit a final appeal), the members of Rise Against keep the conversation heavy which again, is what one would expect from a socially conscious punk band.

Overall Impression — 8
There is a straightforward nature to most of the track that doesn't necessarily stray from your traditional rock/punk arrangements, but the passion within Rise Against's delivery is ultimately the selling point. Endgame often incorporates several different musical transitions within the course of one song, which keeps listeners' attention a bit more than if they were to pen a verse-chorus-verse and be done with it. Midnight Hands with its metal-oriented riff work possibly delivers the biggest payoff, but contemporary punk purists should find plenty of satisfying material elsewhere on Endgame.

104 comments sorted by best / new / date

    LpMcrRa182
    Do we really need to be arguing about the title of the album? Can't we just enjoy the music? I think its an amazing record!
    rain-man
    Megadeth's fanboys are out in full force I see. How enlightened of them to piss on a completely unrelated band for using the word "Endgame" for their album's title when it, y'know, kinda summarizes the album's lyrical content and the band's views on the world today. Thank you all for reinforcing people's negative opinions of us. Meanwhile I will listen to both Megadeth's and Rise Against's Endgames and enjoy the awesomeness of them both. Bye now.
    CoheednRHCP
    Stop bitching about the name. Megadeth weren't the first to use it. Search it one wikipedia. There are 6 books called Endgame, six movies, and then more. Megadeth weren't original with the name either.
    cooper665
    you know what??? **** the music lets argue about the name of the album -.- no
    Gav_A
    Personally apart from a few standout tracks I didn't find it is good as some of their other albums, although overall it was pretty decent. Architects and Satellite would have to be my favourites, both very catchy
    CronoMagus
    courageous93 wrote: Quit whining about the title. Prince, Jay-Z, and Metallica all have a "Black Album." XD One another note, great CD. Lots of melody, attitude, and lyricism.
    Lol good point. I don't mind the album title either. I love Megadeth and its cool that Rise Against called their album Endgame. I think I'll give it a listen, I hear good things about Rise Against.
    guitarnoob_100
    I don't understand why everyone is pissing around about the album title. Why do you give a shit? Megadeth's Endgame is awesome. RA's Endgame is awesome.Just accept it. Both titles try and reflect their respective albums lyrically. And neither were the first to use it. There are books,movies,songs and bands with that name. Does it really matter?
    Hebriqui
    Let us quit about the fact that the album bears a name similar to one of the works of Megadeth. It's for goodness' sake a Rise Against album, isn't it? I felt awestruck by the album. It was pretty much as I had expected it to be, and my expectations were pretty high. I did not feel dissatisfied by any of the songs. 9/10.
    RocknRory
    This is a very solid album that sounds good throughout. Rise Against is awesome.
    pncoutts
    CoheednRHCP wrote: Stop bitching about the name. Megadeth weren't the first to use it. Search it one wikipedia. There are 6 books called Endgame, six movies, and then more. Megadeth weren't original with the name either.
    Agreed. In my opinion, it's about how the music reflects the title, and in that sense I think Rise Against deserve to take Endgame. AWESOME album. Disparity by Design as so much urgency that bands just don't/cannot convey these days...
    kornography19
    To everyone who is calling the wahmbulance about the title... The following bands have releases titled Endgame: Decal, Like Wendy, Soulscar, The Spicy Rizzaks, Barry Guy, Burzukh, Megadeth, Brian Parish, Rise Against /argument
    ozzstriker
    Survivor's Guilt gets me PUMPED!!! love the intro, love the war-like lyrics, love it
    Elfuego
    Awesome their new album. It sounds like something you already know. It's like a mix of Appeal To Reason, an The Sufferer an The Witness, but diffrently. A totally fresh new style. Can't wait to get it come, i've pre-ordered it
    Johnneeey
    CoheednRHCP wrote: Stop bitching about the name. Megadeth weren't the first to use it. Search it one wikipedia. There are 6 books called Endgame, six movies, and then more. Megadeth weren't original with the name either.
    Of Course they werent but thats makes RAs album title even less original than megadeths and you also have to think about if people really remembered the books/movies at the time the megadeth album came out. Did someone back then complain about the title?
    Guardian Devil
    First off I'm a Metalhead and I think Rise Against sucks as a contemporary punk rock band, but there have been movies, plays, stores, bands and books entitled the 'Endgame'. Megadeth was just the first to use that title for there recent album & song. Besides most artist get there titles from movies, plays, newspapers, books, other albums etc. Not that Rise Against doesn't deserves the Title, I just think its only fair that Megadeth took the title first for there recent brutal album. It would not have been a fuss if someone could've called it, 'THE ENDGAME!' Then that would've been interesting.
    guitar77432
    I personally thought Architects was one of the best on the record. I've only listened to it twice gonna have to go through a few more times to determine, but awesome album for sure. I'll be seeing them in boston on april 30th with Bad Religion, incredibly excited.
    drpikachu19
    Of Course they werent but thats makes RAs album title even less original than megadeths and you also have to think about if people really remembered the books/movies at the time the megadeth album came out. Did someone back then complain about the title? http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/reviews/c... cs/megadeth/endgame/index.html The answer is no..
    Mexican2005
    Astaldo : lol they titled it like megadeths last?
    Indeed, they need a more original title. Endgame was a pretty big album.
    Gregoric
    took me a few listens to kind of get into this one - enjoy all the songs apart from midnight hands and gentleman's coup
    Anarchaos
    I feel obligated as a die-hard RA fan to comment just in agreement with almost everybody. Yes, they should have chosen a new title after Megadeth came out with it first, but did anyone even open the album and see the "Watch" and "Read" section? They mention Endgame as well as several other readings and documentaries they feel will help you better understand the album for a reason. About the Album, I loved it, and I also agree they sound the same, but lets face it, we're not asking you to listen to all 6 RA albums in a row and be content that you heard something new. There are different bands so that bands can keep original styles, and people can enjoy original music. If you put your iPod on shuffle you won't complain when an RA song from any album comes after your Megadeth, Jay-Z, or freaking Lady Gaga song, because you'll just enjoy the taste of Rise Against. At the risk of sounding like some wannabe intellect, I've said my say, and can only hope for your consideration. This album is a 10 to me, for it's content, not for it's ability to be played over and over without getting tired, because I challenge you to find an album that posses that sort of magic.
    iammclovin
    This is one of the best albums I've heard this year. I liked every single track. Make It Stop, Help Is On The Way, Surivor's Guilt and Gentleman's Coup were standout tracks for me.
    Tillmorning
    I have to agree with earlier posters. I am disappointed in this album. Then again, I've been disappointed in Rise Against since Appeal to Reason. Don't get me wrong, I love their sound, and I've stuck by their music since The Unraveling back in 2001. But since AtR I feel that there has been a directional change in their sound as a whole that just kind of...blends together...in ways that previous albums, while constantly in your face, never managed to do. Or at least, all their "singles" and "hits" do. Granted Endgame does have some guitar work that sticks out in ways that previous albums never did, but I'm not entirely sure I like it. Perhaps I'm just a die hard Siren Song of the Counter-Culture fan...or not a huge fan of Zach Blair's work...
    Anarchaos
    the99thaisle wrote: I've listened to the new album once, and I have to say, it doesn't bode well that just two minutes into it they blatantly rip off the chorus to Against Me!'s 2010 single I Was a Teenage Anarchist. Am I the only one who noticed that? I agree with earlier posters who've said that this album sounds almost exactly like their earlier efforts. I was hoping for something more exciting, not more of the same. I'd rather listen to a random track from Appeal to Reason than a single from this album. But who knows? Maybe it'll grow on me.
    In literary terms, this is called an Allusion, and you wouldn't be wrong to assume that Rise Against has heard that song and is alluding to them, and later answering them when he says "I still do."
    cadams1981
    I love Rise Against, I own all of their albums. So far I have listened to Endgame 3 times through and while I didn't think much of it at first listen, it's really growing on me. I honestly thought the album title was a bad pick but have been looking forward to something new from RA and glad to have it. It's pretty funny reading people saying how all Rise Against songs sound the same. On that note, so does most of Metallica, Megadeath, AC/DC, ...etc
    Adam_Harrison9
    beno21 wrote: Honestly, this album just sounds like a whole bunch of b-sides from Appeal to Reason that have been reworked to sound the best they possibly could. They should have taken the time and put down some better material. The guitar work is bland, Tim has little aggression in his voice and compared to Siren Song Of The Counter Culture and Sufferer and The Witness, this album blows. One thing I will say for it is that Joe's bass lines are great and stand out more than the guitars. I mean, I'll listen to it a few times more to hopefully get a better feel for it, but this album sounds like they've taken a step back.
    This is far better than Appeal To Reason in terms of songwriting. It's more interesting. It's more intense. Definitely not a backwards step after Appeal To Reason.
    Chickenboot
    I thought it was pretty good, a little bit of a step down from previous albums, but still a solid album start to finish.
    beno21
    Honestly, this album just sounds like a whole bunch of b-sides from Appeal to Reason that have been reworked to sound the best they possibly could. They should have taken the time and put down some better material. The guitar work is bland, Tim has little aggression in his voice and compared to Siren Song Of The Counter Culture and Sufferer and The Witness, this album blows. One thing I will say for it is that Joe's bass lines are great and stand out more than the guitars. I mean, I'll listen to it a few times more to hopefully get a better feel for it, but this album sounds like they've taken a step back.
    Adam_Harrison9
    the99thaisle wrote: I've listened to the new album once, and I have to say, it doesn't bode well that just two minutes into it they blatantly rip off the chorus to Against Me!'s 2010 single I Was a Teenage Anarchist. Am I the only one who noticed that? I agree with earlier posters who've said that this album sounds almost exactly like their earlier efforts. I was hoping for something more exciting, not more of the same. I'd rather listen to a random track from Appeal to Reason than a single from this album. But who knows? Maybe it'll grow on me.
    They borrow the lyric and then expand on it. If you knew what the song was about then you'd understand why they've borrowed the lyric. He quotes against me "don't you remember when we were young and you wanted to set the world on fire?" and then adds "well I still am, and I still do". Saying he still believes in what he did before, unlike Tom Gabel. Take that how you want but I think it's a gutsy thing to do.
    Pat_s1t
    Guardian Devil wrote: First off I'm a Metalhead and I think Rise Against sucks as a contemporary punk rock band, but there have been movies, plays, stores, bands and books entitled the 'Endgame'. Megadeth was just the first to use that title for there recent album & song. Besides most artist get there titles from movies, plays, newspapers, books, other albums etc. Not that Rise Against doesn't deserves the Title, I just think its only fair that Megadeth took the title first for there recent brutal album. It would not have been a fuss if someone could've called it, 'THE ENDGAME!' Then that would've been interesting.
    If you feel the need to give yourself the title of metalhead, then you're probably not one to judge music. I've never met a self proclaimed "metalhead" that knew anything about anything when it came to talking about music.
    Private Eye
    I'm not completely sold on this just yet. It's good, but I feel like Rise Against has been releasing the same album with slight variation since Sufferer.I'll have to give it a few more listens and maybe it'll grow on me.
    ProgJazzMath
    The vocalist voice is horrendous and I can't stand how hearing one song by this band really means you have heard their entire catalog. The fact they are still making music and still as popular as they were 6 years ago bugs me.
    Fearlessflyer3
    I can give a shit about the album title. I actually kind of like it though. This album is mediocre at best. The only problem with their music lately is that it ALL SOUNDS THE SAME. FORMULAIC!! They have so many songs that have the same formula as "Help Is On The Way". BIG step down from Appeal To Reason.
    ubertone
    This band is terrible and keeps re releasing the same songs/albums. I refuse to believe this album has anything but power chords and angsty lyrics about something whiny, delivered slightly off key... or at least in their typically atrocious vocal tone. I will do everything in my power to not hear any of this music.
    codo27
    really? endgame? just 2 years after Megadeth's? speaks volumes about the amount of originality in the industry today
    shikkaka
    pncoutts wrote: CoheednRHCP wrote: Stop bitching about the name. Megadeth weren't the first to use it. Search it one wikipedia. There are 6 books called Endgame, six movies, and then more. Megadeth weren't original with the name either. Agreed. In my opinion, it's about how the music reflects the title, and in that sense I think Rise Against deserve to take Endgame. AWESOME album. Disparity by Design as so much urgency that bands just don't/cannot convey these days...
    i dont understand, you say that the title should reflect the content of the album (I agree) but then you say that Rise Against deserves to have the title (Is there some contest I have been unaware of). I wont rip on RA for taking the title or anything, but it was probably not a very smart move.
    fartsyjoe420
    just can't get into this album, much like the last few rise against albums. every song sounds absolutely identical to me. meh/10.