Endgame Review

artist: Rise Against date: 03/15/2011 category: compact discs
Rise Against: Endgame
Released: Mar 15, 2011
Genre: Punk Rock, Melodic Hardcore
Label: DGC, Interscope
Number Of Tracks: 12
Rise Against's heavy social and politically driven commentary on Endgame syncs up unfortunately perfectly with today's chaotic headlines.
 Sound: 7.5
 Lyrics: 8.3
 Overall Impression: 7.8
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reviews (4) 112 comments vote for this album:
overall: 8.3
Endgame Featured review by: UG Team, on march 15, 2011
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: 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. // 8

Lyrics: 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. // 9

Overall Impression: 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. // 8

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overall: 8.3
Endgame Reviewed by: Z13J, on march 28, 2011
2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: Rise Against returns with their trademark power chord riffs and powerful pick slides. Lead singer Tim McIlrath ventures into the old Rise Against screaming territory in a few songs, which brings me back to The Unraveling album. The guitar riffs now range from acoustic-blues to metal shredding, a pleasant addition to the Rise Against style punk spin-off. There is only one song on this entire album I find myself reaching to the skip button, that being Disparity by Design. I find this song to be repetitive, like I've heard it over and over. Minus that, and the rather weak Endgame, this album is an absolute gem. // 9

Lyrics: Tim McIlrath's gruff voice that could hit nearly any pitch nails the well-thought out lyrics that are based solely on the bands beliefs. As soon as I bought the album, I quickly burnt it to a disc so I could listen on the way to school. I was shocked to hear F-bombs dropped in two songs. I am not against cursing, but for a band striving for world peace and animal rights, I was expecting a bit of discretion. Help Is On the Way, which appears to be the public favorite, bases its lyrics off of the uprising in Egypt and the major earthquake and devastating tsunami. My personal favorite, Make it Stop (September's Children), is about the tragic suicides of those who gave their lives after being bullied for their sexuality. Rise Against knows whats wrong and isn't afraid to voice their opinion. The majority of the songs are like this, but eventually, these cryptic lyrics become dull, and even boring in some situations. I would rate Tim's singing an 8 and the repetitiveness of some songs as a 6, totaling an average of 7. // 7

Overall Impression: I feel that this is the album that will put Rise Against on the radio daily. Like I stated previously, I have listened to every single song and have enjoyed every second of almost every one. I feel this album is much better than its predecessor, Appeal to Reason. If someone were to shoot me right now, or within the next year, they would find an iPod with Endgame playing. No doubt about it, whatsoever. // 9

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overall: 6
Endgame Reviewed by: Shadow9Vesper, on april 10, 2012
1 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: In the past few years, Rise Against have become one of the leading bands of the newest wave of hardcore punk. Influenced by Minor Threat (especially McIlrath, whose vocals are almost identical of MacKaye's), Black Flag and other classics of US punk rock, their style is easily recognizable. While "Endgame"'s predecessor, "Appeal To Reason" was criticized by some for losing the sharp, hardcore sound of the previous four albums, "Endgame" manages to steal some of it. The set of the songs is, however, definitely the weakest in their history. Apart from "Satellite" or "Gentleman's Coup" and maybe two more, the songs are wrecked by the unbearable crystal sound, which, despite being sharper than "ATR"'s mellowed, California-like one, just wastes the potential of some songs. How the compositions may be great, the fact that this is the radio-friendly sound takes away from them great deal of the kick. What's worse, the choirs are put in places that would be better without them. "Help Is On The Way" loses much of the power thanks to "They said, they said" sang in the chorus, similar case is with "Architects", although the choirs aren't that destructive. "Make It Stop (September's Children)", is by far the one that suffers most from the producers' mistakes. It's amazing that both of the co-creators of "The Sufferer And The Witness" and "ATR"'s success agreed on inserting parts sang by the children. How justified it is by the topic, the introduction would be enough. "Disparity By Design" and "Satellite" are the highlight of the album so far, both having enough power to overthrow the government or at least create awesome moshpit. "Disparity..." is unfortunately a little more radio-f******y than the other one, yet in this particular case, the song itself is good enough to not lose too much of its charm. "Midnight Hands" has one of the most un-Rise Against riffs in their whole discography, though the outcome is interesting. Unfortunately, this time one to blame for mediocrity of the song is the vocalist, whose work in here is the weakest on the album. "Survivor's Guilt", being together with "Satellite" the most punk rock in the whole set is a track that on the concerts surely will trigger a pogo to happen. Additionally, McIlrath's fans will recognize the spoken part from one of the Baxter songs, which is a nice easter egg. "Broken Mirrors" and "Wait For Me" are very distinctive, first with almost hard rock riff in the opening, experimental for RA's usual compositions, second sounding as if it was crafted for modern emo kids, with surprisingly good bridge, which saves this one from oblivion. It's also the thing that completely doesn't fit in next song, "A Gentleman's Coup", excluding this part nicely done. Title of "This Is Letting Go" might refer to abandoning punk-rock for the pop-punk, as it is the most pop thing in the set. The questionable mix makes it nice to listen, but definitely not something that will be appreciated for older fans. Last of the set, the title track is somewhere between "Survivor's Guilt" and "Midnight Hands", being above the average and nice to listen, but with wasted potential, just as bonus track - "Lanterns". // 5

Lyrics: McIlrath with his lyrics has, as usual, highlighted the problems of modern world and society. In "Architects" he argues with Tom Gabel's "I Was A Teenage Anarchist", answering that indeed, there are people who "still believe in all the things that they stood by before". "Make It Stop" is also the first track about the homophobia, one of the few social topics of great significance RA hasn't yet covered. Lyrics on this album lack, however, quality of the older songs, feel unfinished, somehow rushed. McIlrath this time doesn't scream as much as he used to (but when he does, it really is the highest standard of hc/punk screaming) and his vocals, which I always loved are weaker than usually. Maybe the sound is to blame, but personally, I think that higher, clean sounds don't fit RA's style. Nevertheless, lyrics and vocals are, for the most of the time, what makes this album possible to go through. // 8

Overall Impression: In comparison to any of the previous achievements, be it great "Unraveling", style-defining "Revolutions Per Minute" or even California-sounding "Appeal To Reason", this album is most radio-friendly, most unfinished and overall weakest. If it was released as an EP, without the weaker half of the songs, I'd give it 8, despite the mix. Unfortunately, this other part of the album deserves at best 4. I really love this band, I was crippled with fear after I saw kids-friendly "Savior" vid, but I still hoped for at least another "ATR" in means of quality. This is really a great letdown, how good the songs may sound live, with the classic edge of the band. I'm concerned about the future of the band, if after the "ATR" hype they committed this, all I hope is their next album will not in any matter resemble "Endgame". Maybe upcoming "Dirt And Roses" song for the "Avengers" soundtrack will be the premise of their comeback to the roots? Time will tell. // 5

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overall: 8.7
Endgame Reviewed by: AC0RN, on march 24, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: On Rise Against's sixth studio effort they sound extremely enthusiastic and ready for action. With what seems to be a mostly political drive, they put together powerful songs, although they are getting more and more mainstream. Most songs start off fresh but then take a familiar approach for Rise Against, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Sure they are following the same formula from Appeal to Reason, but if you like that formula, then it is a great thing. The first standout track is Architects which is a great way to start off the album. It is a great hype-inducing song with a catchy chorus to it. Unlike most people I've talked to, Help is On The Way is not one of the greatest tracks on this album. Yes, it is a decent song but these guys aren't a couple of teenagers anymore, and these lyrics (the mediocre chorus) are certainly aimed at youths. I would have thought Rise Against has done enough of these. Satellite however, picks the album up again, and is another eye catcher with an epic feel to it. The opening of Survivor Guilt surely makes you think, although thankfully the song isn't preaching anything. Midnight Hands shows a different side of Rise Against, one I wish they showed more of. They take a metal approach in this song with powerful emotion to back it up. Overall, Rise Against has some very good songs in here - as well as some just average ones. // 8

Lyrics: Mcllrath is a great lyricist and a wonderful singer. He has got a good range going for him and a very likeable pronunciation of words such as "life" and "lines." Most songs on this album are politically backed but a good handful are more emotional, ranging from the usual teenage anxiety to reminiscing about ones past. Questions arise about the band's views on the supposed apocalypse and the future of America, none of which are answered but seem to be cleverly avoided in Endgame. If these songs were written a year leader, I'm sure Mcllrath would have found a ton more inspiration from what has gone on in Egypt and Libya to the Tsunami in Japan. // 9

Overall Impression: Although I don't think Endgame quite lives up to their last studio album, Appeal to Reason, Endgame remains a solid album and a great listen. They are probably one of the best punk bands right now and are probably the most determined and sure of themselves. Rise Against are becoming more mainstream however, foregoing most of their old screaming vocals and many fast paced songs, which must be dissappointing for some. I however, praise them for staying alive and still being able to deliver quality music. // 9

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