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Album Review: Wolves by Rise Against

Rise Against release their eighth studio album, Wolves, on 9th June via Virgin Records. The band recorded the album with Grammy award-winning producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Alice in Chains, Deftones). Recording with Raskulinecz meant moving to Nashville, TN – far from the band’s familiar worlds of Chicago and Los Angeles, and a state where the band has also rarely even played. The setting had a clear impact on the album.  “Living in Nashville drove home that we can’t just focus on our differences,” Tim McIlrath (vocals, guitar) says. “If we can stop and talk to each other, face to face, we might realize our common ground. We are all wolves in the same pack, circling at the gates.”

Throughout their career, Rise Against have kept their moral compass steady, using their international punk platform to speak out for social justice. With ‘Wolves’, the band challenges fans to join them in creating a bold new identity together. This album is about recognising the power within; it’s a primal call for the prey to become the hunters. “In many ways, a Rise Against show is a safe space for our fans,” McIlrath says. “But I realized that I don’t only want to create safe spaces, I want to create dangerous spaces where misogyny can’t exist, where xenophobia can’t exist. I want to create spaces where those sentiments don’t have any air, and they suffocate: where those ideas die. Wolves isn’t about creating a safe space, it’s about creating a space that’s dangerous for injustice.”

Whatever way you want to interpret Wolves you’ll find it to be a commanding and powerful punk album. Formidable and powerful through its 40 minutes you can revel in the commanding riffs and defiant lyrics all packaged within an immediate call to arms. It’s a good honest punk record – it doesn’t try any tricks and keeps things simple.

It sees Rise Against at their most accessible. With previous efforts you may have needed a couple of listens to appreciate it, Wolves is instantaneous. It hits you like a steam train with the punchy riffs and triumphant call to arms resonating and hitting an emotional chord.

You’ll find Wolves to be 100% full of anthems too. There’s zero filler, whether it be the ferocious opener ‘Wolves’ or the final rousing anthem of ‘Miracle’ each of the 11 tracks come in at the highest standard. Lead single ‘The Violence’ is the perfect introduction to the album with the aggressive but equally accessible punk ‘Welcome To The Breakdown’ displaying just how commanding and infectious Wolves is.

While ‘Politics of Love’, ‘Parts Per Million’ and ‘How Many Walls’ shine bright it’s an album that perfectly encapsulates the uncertainty and fragility of 2017. ESSENTIAL.

AD Rating 9/10

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