[Album Review] Rise Against – The Black Market

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Rise Against – The Black Market

(中文版本在下)

After 3 years of waiting, Chicago based hardcore punk band Rise Against set to release new album The Black Market in July 2014;. We guarantee it is a nice comeback with all the signature Rise Against components you’re looking for – Tim Mcllrath’s notable vocal, sudden tempo changes, heavy yet energy-boosting melodies and their socially-conscious lyrics.

Though it sounds familiar, The Black Market is definitely a solid album deserves a place on your music shelf. Breaking away from the traditional  3-chord  punk rock cliche, Rise Against consistently refine and build up the complexity of their production.

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Here’s what we  think about The Black Market track by track.

Opening track The Great Die-Off starts off with repeating riffs and sonorous violin intro and gradually grows into powerful guitar melodies running through your vein. Catching up next is the first single I Don’t Want To Be Here Anymore, a Rise Against signature anthemic tune about  the bloody social and national violence.  To give you a break from the choking lyrical burden, they offer you the sugar-coated Tragedy + Time, a song shares similar radio-friendly melody, uplifting major key and positive vibe with their 2008 release The Dirt Whisper off Appeal To Reason.

The exceptional talent of Rise Against in curating weighty stories through musical arrangement and thought-provoking lyrics have been the reasons why I adore these guys so much since Revolutions Per Minute. Coming up next is the title track The Black Market, which is a perfect song to showcase this sophisticated ability. The Eco-terrorist In Me has the fantastic shouting that all die hard fans are yearning for. Like the approach Rise Against has been taking in recent albums, impassioned softer vocal is introduced to balance out the rough edges. Sudden Life is another song we highly recommend to you. The U2-Foo-Fighters-fused tune, especially the first verse vocal that immediately reminds me of Bono, proves their intention of transforming into a solid rock band and expanding their fan base outside the punk circle. A Beautiful Indifference echoes with Eco-terrorists by using similar formula with additional intensive beats to bounce along.

Methadone is another comparatively easy-listening song in the album about personal life experience. Zero Visibility brings the hype up again by introducing the proclamation-like vocal effect and cheering sound in the intro background, which synchronize with Rise Against’s political focus. The expression draws on the same line with their old works like Re-education (Through Labor) and Kotov Syndrome from Appeal To Reason (2008).

The harmonies on Awake Along has waken up my memory of Bad Religion’s unique choir-esque harmonic back up. Towards the end you’ll find People Live Here, an atmospheric acoustic song filled with post-catastrophes haunting sorrow and melancholia; definitely another song to note if you like Hero of War or Swing Life Away,  The band choose to end the 47-minute journey with Bridges, which to me, does not stand out especially but good enough to mark an end with some experiential lead guitar and heartfelt lyrics.

“We build the bridges (brace for the crash) / and underneath their shadows we now love”

Overall-speaking, The Black Market is rather a safe play by Rise Against. As someone who witness their breakthrough since the independent era, I would say though without much surprises, it’s no doubt a Rise Against standard production and I still enjoy the album. It is more like Rise Against are testing the water with The Black Market of further establishing their rock sound on top of their punk root within their comfort zone. Vocally Tim Mcllrath still kills it and surprisingly does not show a bit of wearing out after over 10 years of shouting. The soft vocal sounds extremely polished and quite Bono style. If you want some straight-forward melodic rock and roll with profound messages, this is definitely your choice.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

經過3年的等待,芝加哥的 hardcore punk 樂隊Rise Against 將發布他們的新專輯 The Black Market 在2014年7月;聆聽了幾次後,我們保證這是一個有水準的回歸,當巾包含所有 RA 的招牌式元素 — 主唱 Tim Mcllrath的標誌聲音、突然的節奏變化、振奮人心的搖滾旋律和充滿社會意識的歌詞。 

雖然整個專輯風格上與前作沒有大變化,但是 The Black Market 絕對是一張很實在的專輯,值得成為您音樂寶庫的一員。Rise Against 脫離傳統 punk rock 的 「三和弦」(3-chord) 陳詞濫調,不斷修飾及建構複雜性,使其創作更耐聽。

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以下是我們對 The Black Market 每個曲目的逐一分析。

開場曲 The Great Die-Off 以重複的結他演奏和鏗鏘的小提琴作前奏,逐步引入強大的結他旋律,為你打通耳朵的靜脈。接下來是首支單曲、Rise Against 的簽名式暢快調子 I Don’t Want To Be Here Anymore,內容圍繞對社會和國家的血腥暴力控訴。為了讓你從沉重窒息的歌詞中呼一口氣,Rise Against 準備了糖衣包裹的 Tragedy + Time。這曲的流行搖滾旋律、充滿感染力的大調和積極的氛圍與他們2008年 Appeal To Reason 專輯中l的 The Dirt Whisper相近。

Rise Against 透過音樂編曲和發人深省的歌詞來敘述沉重故事的過人才華一直小編從 Revolutions Per Minute (2002) 開始便欣賞他們的原因。接下來的點題作 The Black Market 充分展示了這個優秀的能力。下首歌曲 The Eco-Terrorist In Me 中有著所有樂迷都嚮往的呼喊;一如 Rise Against 最近的專輯的取向,他們加入了不少柔和而激昂的唱聲以平衡整體的粗糙感。Sudden Life 是另一首我們強烈推薦的歌曲。當中像 U2 和 Foo Fighters 融合的曲風,尤其第一節歌唱部分令我想起 Bono,證明了 Rise Against 鋭意轉化成搖滾樂隊及擴大 punk rock 圈子以外的樂迷基礎。A Beautiful Indifference 使用類似 Eco-Terrorist 中的公式,再灑上密集的節拍使你的心臟與它一同跳動。

Methadone 是專輯中另一首較流行的歌,抒寫關於個人生活經驗的點滴。Zero Visibility 引進宣告式的喇叭聲音和背景歡呼聲效果,與 Rise Against 的政治焦點互相回應,其表達方式與他們 Appeal To Reason (2008年) 中的舊作如 Re-education (Through Labor) 和 Kotov Syndrome 同出一徹。

Awake Too Long 中的和聲令我想起老牌 punk rock 樂隊 Bad Religion 的獨特合唱團式和音。漸入尾聲,Rise Against 帶來了廣闊的 acoustic 歌曲 People Live Here,濔漫著災難後縈繞不散的悲傷和憂鬱;如果你喜歡 Hero of War 或 Swing Life Away 的話,這絕對是另一首歌要留意的歌曲。樂隊選擇以 Bridges 來結束47分鐘的音樂旅程,這對我來說,這曲不太鶴立雞群,但其實中一些實驗性結他和由衷歌詞也是一個不錯的結尾。

“We build the bridges (brace for the crash) / and underneath their shadows we now love”

總體對講, The Black Market 是 Rise Against 相當保守的作品。小編見證著他們從獨立時期突破到這刻在主流樂壇取得成績,我保證這專輯雖然沒太多驚喜,但毫無疑問是 Rise Against 一向的水準之作。 The Black Market 像是他們在自己的舒適區內試水溫之舉,以進一步確立在 punk rock 根基上建立的搖滾風格。 聲樂上 Tim Mcllrath 還是令人俯首稱臣,很驚訝經過10年以上的叫喊,他的聲線聽起上來沒有絲毫磨損;較柔和的唱聲亦較從前更完潤,更有 Bono 的影子。如果您在尋找一些充滿深層意義的爽朗搖滾歌曲,這是你不二之選。

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