There’s something in your eyes that shakes me back to life…
Smacking a wall is all manner of stupid, yet natural as breathing when Wolves belts brain, boils blood and pumps adrenaline so violently you risk an impromptu surfing session regardless of your locale or penchant for board sports. Book-ended by two of the most rip-roaring rock tunes in years, to term Wolves ‘great’ is a write-off and far too stingy when it sits the best bit of punk rock in over a decade.
Rise Against are old crows at this point. Ranting since the early 2000s when the Bush administration was in full swing and America had entered phase two of the end times, the Chicago rockers’ message hasn’t been one of subtlety but wisdom, and all sandwiched between some of the catchiest, most well produced rock of the last couple of decades. Wolves is an easy argument for Rise’ place on the landscape. Politically charged and with a pantheon of hugely successful tunes, Tim and co. have yet to phone it in, striking a masterful mix of commentary and fast-paced feel goodery. In 2017, Wolves stays the course – sans moderation and needless evangelism.
The passion in Rise Against’ latest lets up for no one. Heavier past offerings, Siren Song of the Counter Culture and The Sufferer and the Witness, provided an if-but-brief bit of respite; four minutes harmonious and there to help catch breath (Swing Life Away, Roadside, Hero of War). In 2017, there’s no quiet strumming or ballad and the lack thereof is noticeable in just how knackering things feel by the close. Wolves‘ breathless assault isn’t in detriment to its flow and this manic progression may even be preferable for those looking to spike a bit more punk in their P&R.
Explosive title track to the uplifting grin of closing number Miracle (maybe everything is going to be OK?), Wolves’ slew of lyricism, skin-spiking octaves and unfaltering energy speaks volumes to a band coming up on their forties. 2014’s The Black Market wasn’t a bad shout but bar decent belters The Great Die-Off and The Eco-Terrorist in Me, it didn’t shatter earth. Wolves is Rise Against back to their best: intelligent punk in a fierce and foamy swell. Yep, the world’s still on fire but at least someone’s there to watch the tide.