Melodic hardcore greats Rise Against have today released an expanded edition of their 2014 magnum opus The Black Market via Interscope/UMe. For the first time ever, all recordings that were previously available as bonus tracks — “About Damn Time” and “We Will Never Forget” from The Eco-Terrorist in Me 7” and the Japan-only bonus track “Escape Artists” — have been added to the international digital version of the album.
Hailed upon its release by Kerrang! as “a magnificent wake-up call,” by Alternative Press as reflecting “the sheer heart with which [its songs] were forged and the very visceral emotion they contain,” by Allmusic as “a strong contender for [Rise Against’s] most timeless effort,” and by Classic Rock Magazine, who called it “stirring stuff,” The Black Market peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Top 200 upon its release.
Rise Against emerged in the early 2000s as vanguards of the Chicago heavy music scene, fusing old-school punk attitude with post-hardcore fury on acclaimed records like 2003’s Revolutions Per Minute, their 2004 Geffen debut Siren Song of the Counter Culture and 2011’s Endgame. By 2014, the band was nearing the zenith of its success while grappling with tragedy. “It was a great time for the band,” lead guitarist and backing vocalist Zach Blair remembers. “We’d just come off a successful touring cycle with Endgame and had some real career highs with that.”
However, “I also had a personal dark spot at this time because I found out a close friend and ex-bandmate, Dave Brockie of Gwar, had died,” Blair says. “I was crushed, but I put my emotions into the process.” Determined to push through their grief, the band congregated in their home base of Fort Collins, Colorado, where “the ideas started flowing.” The result, Blair says, was the band’s darkest record to date — but also arguably their most triumphant.
The album’s opener “The Great Die-Off” is a call to global revolution that Blair sees as evermore germane to 2020. “The lyrics are some of my favorite of ours and still hold so true in today’s modern political climate,” he says. “When the old guard won’t step aside with their outdated practices and ethics, then the young and idealistic will rise up and overthrow [them]. We’re seeing that right now, and hopefully we’ll see that in November.”
On The Black Market’s subsequent tracks, “We really swung for the fences,” the guitarist recalls. “Stylistically, I think it was one of our most important efforts because we really took liberties with what we perceived as the Rise sound. Which, in turn, broke us out of certain creative boxes and dead ends on the following records.” By tearing up the rule book of what a Rise Against record should be, The Black Market covers all of the band’s extremes, from traditional punk (“The Eco-Terrorist in Me”) to more metallic territory (“Zero Visibility”) to left-field experimentation (“Methadone”).
Upon its release, The Black Market “escalated [Rise Against] to a strata of punk band previously only occupied by Green Day and the Offspring,” MusicRadar declared in 2014, noting that the band shattered “the idea that you have to compromise to succeed.” “We’re all very part of the record and it reserves a very important spot in the Rise Against canon,” Blair says. “I can honestly say that [it’s one of] my top three Rise records, if not my favorite.”
The Black Market is out now. Scroll down to read the full tracklist and buy it here.
“A Beautiful Indifference”
“Awake Too Long”
“I Don’t Want To Be Here Anymore”
“People Live Here”
“The Black Market”
“The Eco-Terrorist In Me”
“The Great Die-Off”
“Tragedy + Time”
“Escape Artists” (bonus track)
“About Damn Time” (bonus track)
“We Will Never Forget” (bonus track)