Rise Against might have started their career as an international act with an acoustic pop song, but since “Swing Life Away” came out 12 years ago they haven’t released anything really close to it. Over the past 12 years, Rise Against has released rock/punk rock albums with politically charged lyrics and their audience has steadily grown. The band is currently on their 8th record with “Wolves” and they show no signs of slowing down.
“Wolves” isn’t really that different from the last four Rise Against albums. It’s the typical style the band has incorporated for years – write melodic rock songs with catchy choruses that say something meaningful about a cause. They’re doing that here throughout all the songs on this album and Tim McIlrath remains a poignant voice for his causes. Whether it’s technology reliance, social inequality, or something else – McIlrath always says something thoughtful and thought-provoking in his lyrics. McIlrath will always be the face of Rise Against but enough good things can’t be said about guitarist Zach Blair. He’s the key cog in their musical style and he has his own flair that’s identifiable as Rise Against.
McIlrath, Blair, and the rest of the guys do a tremendous job of making this album as good as their past few releases. That’s all they really had to do when they were putting it together. It doesn’t really matter that much that Nick Raskulinecz produced this album instead of Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore. Sure, it probably helped keep the band with a fresh perspective in the studio, but apart from that you can’t really hear the influence. All Rise Against had to do was match the quality of their past few albums. That’s what they did and there are no signs that they won’t be able to do it again.