It’s never easy, when one of the bands you were cherishing in your teenage days becomes a global brand themselves. When small venues turn into stadiums, when edges become polished surfaces, when the small indie label gets replaced by the biggest label in the world.
Rise Against have been broken – not in the sense that they have ditched all their old values and turned their back on the scene, but in the sense major labels use the term for bands going gold. So they managed to sell a wagon-load of their last album not only in the US, but in Europe too. The small stages they once shared with all your favorite small time punk bands have now been left behind for the big stages. Musically the band had always played a very melodic blend of punk and hardcore. But as soon as GGGarth and Bill Stevenson got their hands on the sound console they made way for a bombastic production and radio-friendly hymns. Maybe the band was ready for that, but I wasn’t too impressed. It didn’t do the band any harm nevertheless. It propelled them right in the arms of Universal and in the arms of lost kids who had always been too scared to go to see them at Warped Tour.
Now they could safely go and watch their favorites rock massive stadiums and find friends within their 10’000 other like-minded peers.
The Black Market is the bands 7th record. To say that the listened would be up for any surprised would be a blatant lie because there are none. There is the string-laden intro (The Great Die-Off) with enough ‘ahs’ and ‘ohs’ to get every stadium rocking. There’s the sing-along single in I don’t want to be here anymore. There’s the angry, political driven one (The Eco-Terrorist in Me), the radio rocker Sudden Life and the obvious pathos ballad People Live Here.
The Black Market is by no means a bad album. Rise Against are by no means a bad band. They’ve always kept their integrity, they always raise their voices for important topics (Peta, Child abuse etc.) and they deserve every success they have. It’s all gotten a little too formulaic though. They say your seventh album is always a very difficult one, and this is no venture to new lands. It’s playing it safe. It will be a successful album and it will help keeping the bands on the big stages. I would have still loved to hear the band experiment a little bit. But who am I to judge, ey?
The Black Market is out now via Universal.