We open up with the title track and musically it's really a bit of a jerky start...it's rife with key-changes and it fluctuates almost excitedly throughout the course of the track...it's almost agitated and to be honest, it perfectly accompanies the theme here...they are the wolves, we are all the wolves and it's a very anti-establishment in message...the people have had enough...we have a voice, and our message is simple, shit needs to change...a serious start here. "House Of Fire" follows up and it's incredibly melodic, the pop-hooks are on point here and it's incredibly jovial but there's always a twist, for all it's catchy qualities it's lyrically so contradictory; a failing relationship and defiance in the face of it all...it's actually quite sad...wonderfully done.
"The Violence" gives us our first real taste of classic Rise Against...it's got all of the rhythm of rock 'n' roll with the quirky punk riffs and thematically it's back to business; a strong socio-political out-pouring; questioning yourself, questioning humanity as you know it...it's falling apart, god what have we done? Where did we go so wrong? This is McIlrath doing what he does best and this is a definite album highlight...elsewhere highlight's include "Welcome To The Breakdown", with it's frantic, raw up-tempo punk rock flurry of spit and attitude, but by damn does it have a catchy chorus...and the incredibly infectious, almost R.E.M. inspired guitar tones of "Politics Of Love"...a song on face value of wasted love but conceptually deeper, wanting a second chance...his passionate views on climate change and his love of people and the world make the references to ice breaking seem far more poignant..."I should have said something" he cries...a call to arms to voters and again, wanting to use his voice for good...this is McIlrath at his best.
The rest of the album rolls along not so much with a biddable nature but with a sense of regularity, all Rise Against songs are good songs, don't get me wrong, but they've shown a lot more grit in the past...for example the albums original title "Mourning In America"; while pleasant enough was too weak and swapped as a result...McIlrath himself said "Fuck that, fuck grieving"...there are cheeky satirical tracks too like "How Many Walls" (The answer is one...one big beautiful wall) and closing track "Miracle" which ends things on an up-beat, positive note. In a world where humanity is crying out for justice and equality, where governments use fear and propaganda to convince their citizens to vote against their best interests with smear campaigns and greed...we need bands like Rise Against, and we need voices like McIlrath's...he's right...we are the wolves and we've locked onto a scent of government corruption and oppression and we will bring them down. Rise against the establishment, the revolution starts now.