In the fall of 1999, Dan Wleklinski (guitar) and Joe Principe (bass), formerly of Chicago's melodic hardcore heroes, 88 Fingers Louie, teamed up with fellow scene member and ex-Baxter frontman Tim Mcilrath to plant the seeds for Rise Against, a band that will undoubtedly make an indelible impression on punk rock/hardcore music and its listeners. The addition of Colorado import, former Pinhead Circus drummer Brandon Barnes, solidified the band's lineup and allowed them to start playing out, finish writing, and record their debut album, The Unraveling. The Unraveling, scheduled to be released April 24th on the indie powerhouse label Fat Wreck Chords, is a testament to the four members' talent and experience. The record highlights Principe's knack for writing quality, aggressive, yet melodic punk/hc soundscapes is the perfect match for Mcilrath's talent for blending insightful, heartfelt, and even prolific lyrics with distinctive and infectious vocals. This combination, coupled with Wleklinski and Barnes' airtight, precision playing, gives Rise Against an edge that sets the band apart from its more conventional peers, without failing to remind listeners why they enjoy punk/hc music. All these elements translate seamlessly to the stage, back-up vocals and sing-alongs intact. On The Unraveling, Rise Against shows its ability and range, combining the best elements of emotional hardcore and punk rock, while expanding on those ideas and taking the music in a fresh direction through hard hitting, technical playing and a new spin on personal politics. While some bands in this genre lose their punch when they slow down the tempo, Rise Against is just as potent and at home with their slower and mid-tempo songs as they are their faster tracks. Hungry to tour and spread the word, the band plans to hit the road as soon as the record hits the stores, if not sooner.
- Kevin White