Rise Against Appeal To Reason

Sometimes I wonder if opinions of this band have been tainted since their jump to the majors. Some of their more socio-political lyrics ring a little hollow in that context and, in truth, it’s a bit hard to separate ideology from practice. That said, Appeal To Reason is by far the best album the band have released since joining the Geffen roster, even standing up next to their pivotal Revolutions Per Minute. In fact, the biggest disappointment is the over-production of single "Re-Education (Through Labour),” a song whose intensity and power get lost behind the layers of guitar and vocal effects. Other than that one transgression this is a fine record. "The Dirt Whispered” harkens back to the band’s more melodic, cathartic days and even their obligatory acoustic number ("Hero Of War”) is a ridiculously powerful song about U.S. soldiers in the Middle East. Hopefully this is a sign that Rise Against have actually returned to their previously formidable selves. Let’s just hope they learn to be a little more discerning with the studio trickery. (Geffen)