Rise Against are a band with a tried and tested formula. Adept in their craft, they know what they need to do – they’ve done it enough already! Readily producing melodic, hardcore punk protest songs – delivering them better than most – is their remit. However, the hardcore dials have been turned down significantly in latest offering, Nowhere Generation, making this album more palatable to the masses but less precious to the minority.
The album kicks off with The Numbers. Opening with a razor-sharp riff of power chords then leading into a thunderous offbeat punk verse, the track appears to have legs; however, those legs are soon kicked from under them and the riotous fun stops dead. Strangely, the band opt to reuse the opening riff for the chorus, and the outcome is clumsier than new-born giraffe. Lyrical themes of revolution and conformity are certainly nothing new for the band, but this number shoves it down your throat like an endoscopy.
Second track, Sudden Urge, produces sudden boredom. Very angsty, very angry; something that has thematically been done to death by the band. Tim Mcllrath shouts that he wants to burn the place down like the fourth of July, but the song never comes close to ignition.
Title track, Nowhere Generation, will strike a chord with many disaffected and disenfranchised youths, and it is catchy and optimistic enough, but the lyrical content is a little embarrassing when sung by men in their fourties – reminiscent of your dad trying to get down with your mates.
At the midway point, Forfeit is a strong acoustic offering, and acts as a welcome reprieve from the monotony of its predeceasing tracks. Sounds Like is another decent enough number that can be deciphered from the other tracks’ similarity, but probably only due to the siren riff and variations in drumming chops.
Sooner or Later has a haunting, reverberating riff and a very chirpy and catchy chorus. The hardcore bridge is a welcome change of pace, adding depth and individuality amongst a plethora of well produced but uninteresting songs. Sooner or Later is the final decent song on the album – you’re then left hoping that sooner or later, the album will end.
Rise Against are a band of great talent, but a band that has had its day. Although not a single track is poor, there is little that stands one song apart from the next – not a characteristic of a memorable album.