There has probably never been a better time for Rise Against to release an album. Trump’s presidency has been less than thrilling, terror attacks seem to be the new norm and the world is quickly losing precious resources while ecosystems fail. Surely with all this going on Rise Against would have enough material to fill a compendium.
Everything a good punk band should be, for the past 18 years Rise Against have been filling our stereos, MP3 players and air waves with solid punk rock, with a clear message of standing up for yourself and defying government oppression. They have never shied away from having a strong political message within their music, and they certainly aren’t about to now.
Wolves sees Rise Against team up with a new producer, which gives the band a slightly more alternative/hard rock feel, but don’t worry that punk vibe isn’t going anywhere. The title track opens the album and really says it all – “we are the wolves at the gates our numbers growing every day…but you can’t fight us all”. The message of joining together to fight the power, and having strength in numbers has been consistent across Rise Against’s back catalogue and 18 years later it is as important as ever.
All the songs on Wolves work at trying to keep the power with the people. Where songs like “Violence” encourages us to remember that we are in control and “Mourning in Amerika” laments what may be, if we continue on the path we are currently walking and “Bullshit”, well, calls bullshit on all of the lies we have been told and the many that we have been too quick to believe and just bury our heads in the sand on. Basically another call to action song. But with the way things are, it does seem we need these type of songs more than ever. Often people don’t want all of this shoved in their face. They know things are bad, but they would prefer to forget. They don’t want to hear an entire album tell them how bad things are right now. Luckily, Rise Against know how to blend both a catchy melody with a politically charged message. “House on Fire”, “Welcome to the Breakdown” and “Far From Perfect” are great examples at how Rise Against still know how to create that catchy tune that will stay with you for days.
Wolves is definitely the album we need right now. Rise Against are here once again to remind us that we have the strength and the power to stand up to our oppressors. We don’t have to be complacent. We have a voice. We can fight back. We all need to be the “wolves at the gates”.