A fiery American punk and melodic hardcore outfit, Rise Against emerged from the fertile Chicago hardcore scene in the early 2000s, employing a vitriolic but melodic mix of old-school punk gang vocals and pick slides, and blazing post-grunge hooks. The band’s David & Goliath ethos and progressive, human, and animal rights-forward politics made them darlings of the underground scene, where they amassed a devoted fan base with their first two albums for legendary San Francisco-based independent label Fat Wreck Chords. Some of those fans were wary of the group’s decision to sign with a major (Geffen) in 2003, but the resulting Siren Song of the Counter Culture was certified gold and managed to retain the band’s feisty D.I.Y. aesthetic. They hit their commercial peak with their fifth full-length effort, Appeal to Reason, which landed at number three on the Billboard 200, but later offerings like Endgame and The Black Market made a strong showing as well, with both releases going gold, and the former eventually turning platinum. In 2021 they released their ninth long-player, Nowhere Generation.
Rise Against began in 1999 when ex-88 Fingers Louie bassist Joe Principe tapped area vocalist Tim McIlrath for a new project rooted in the sound and social vision of traditional hardcore. Joined by fellow 88 Fingers vet Dan Precision on guitar and, eventually, drummer Brandon Barnes, Rise Against signed to Fat Wreck and issued The Unraveling in 2001. Precision left the band that same year to be replaced by Todd Mohney. Extensive touring followed, leading to their sophomore outing, 2002′s Revolutions Per Minute. After a solid response from fans and critics alike, as well as a stint on the Warped Tour, Rise Against left the Fat Wreck fold for DreamWorks/Geffen. By this point, guitar duties were being handled by Chris Chasse (Reach the Sky).
Rise Against made their major-label debut in August 2004 with the acclaimed Siren Song of the Counter Culture. They toured steadily after the album’s release, received plenty of solid press, and even saw Counter Culture crack the Billboard Top 200. In 2005, Rise Against appeared in the skateboarding film Lords of Dogtown, playing an old-school Cali punk band. (They performed a rousing version of Black Flag’s “Nervous Breakdown” for the film’s soundtrack.) Rise Against continued to tour throughout that summer, including a spot at the U.K.’s Reading and Leeds festivals in August. Their fourth album, The Sufferer & the Witness, appeared in July 2006 and its debut at number ten on the Billboard Top 200 was their highest yet. The band spent the summer tearing up Warped’s main stage before hooking up with Thursday and Billy Talent that fall. Rise Against continued playing shows into 2007, but their extensive tour schedule eventually proved to be too much for Chasse, who bowed out that February. The band soldiered on, enlisting Only Crime’s Zach Blair to temporarily take his place.
In 2008, Rise Against moved to Interscope and released Appeal to Reason, which marked a more melodic shift for the band and was their most successful album to date, reaching number three on the Billboard chart. For their next album, the group hit the studio with punk mainstay Bill Stevenson, who’s played with Black Flag, Descendents, and All. Their sixth album, the platinum-selling Endgame, was released early in 2011, and featured the politically charged single “Help Is on the Way,” which was inspired by a trip to New Orleans and lamented the slow response time for aid to disaster-stricken areas. In 2013, the band delivered Long Forgotten Songs, a collection of B-sides and covers that helped whet fans’ appetites for their blockbuster seventh studio album, The Black Market, which followed in 2014 and debuted at number three on the Billboard Top 200.
In April 2017, the band issued “The Violence,” the first single from their studio long-player Wolves, which arrived via Virgin Records later that May. The following year saw the release of The Ghost Note Symphonies, Vol 1, a compilation featuring reimagined versions of previously released songs, with orchestration and alternative instrumentation. In 2019, Rise Against released the sprawling all-vinyl retrospective Career Vinyl Book, with the single “Broken Dreams, Inc.,” their first new song in three years, appearing in 2020 as part of the soundtrack for DC’s Batman comic book series Dark Nights: Death Metal. That song, along with ten others, appeared on the band’s ninth full-length effort, Nowhere Generation, which saw release in Jun 2021, making it to number four on Billboard’s Top Rock Albums chart. ~ Johnny Loftus