Rise Against, ‘Appeal to Reason’ (DGC/Interscope)
“There is no middle ground, no compromise,” Rise Against frontman Tim McIlrath howls on “Collapse (Post-Amerika),” the appropriately doomy opening blast on the band’s fifth album. While such fist-pumping stridency might be politically counterproductive, for leftist punk rockers it’s a reasonable governing philosophy. Unfortunately, the lack of nuance extends to the music itself. With the exception of the folky, poignant “War Hero,” everything just hurtles along at the same breakneck speed. There’s very little wrong with these fierce, engagingly tuneful stomps, but piled atop one another, Appeal to Reason feels less like an appeal to reason and more like the beating of a dead horse.