Once upon a 13-years ago, EA released Need For Speed Underground 2. And for me, the most memorable song from the soundtrack of the game was Rise Against – Give It All. It was the song that got me into the band and each and every time they release a new album, I get hyped. And aside from The Black Market and Appeal To Reason (a little bit), I was not dissapointed. Enter Wolves and the trend is back on the right track.
I’m not going to do a track by track review, as each person’s taste is different. Also, reviews like that tend to get long and I really wouldn’t know what to say about some of the tracks as they seem to be very specific with regards to their subject. Anyhow, let’s get this thing going.
Upon the first listen, I was very impressed by two things: the energy and emotion in Tim’s voice and the fact that they’ve changed their style a bit. And it all works out in the end. It’s like they finally remembered how to sing properly. The themes are mostly common to the band, with love, politics, environment and focusing on what each individual can do all being present in various shapes and forms.
Another interesting aspect is that for once there is no acoustic song or ballad on it. One could argue that the same could be said about Endgame, though Wait For Me was a bit slower than the rest. Speaking of Endgame, Wolves has some elements from Endgame on it, most notably in The Violence, while also combining screaming with singing in a matter similar to Sufferer and Appeal To Reason.
Musically, they add in some new and interesting elements, with what sounds like a piano or very processed guitar during the bridge of Far From Perfect and some interesting techniques used by Tim when singing. He tends to syncopate some lyrics and it gives the songs a rough and very…I don’t know how to put it, so I’ll say garage-like feel. The songs don’t feel overly processed or over-produced, which is such a good thing given their somewhat stale work from the previous album.
Lyrically, they’re still up there, even though some songs tend to get a little bit corny, such as Far From Perfect or Bullshit. Funnily enough though, it doesn’t feel cringey, which I was fearing given the direction some artists have went with their latest releases (you know who I mean…and if you don’t, it’s Metallica and Avenged Sevenfold).
All in all a solid album and a solid return to form from them in my book. If I were to pick my favorites from the album, I dare say they would be The Violence, Far From Perfect, Bullshit and Politics of Love, with songs like House on Fire, Welcome to the Breakdown and Mourning in Amerika having the potential to grow on me, the latter mostly because of the very mid 2000s Green Day feel I get from it (I am not from the USA, so the message of it is beneath me).