Rise Against

These guys didn't invent melodic hardcore; they spent their early years releasing albums on Fat Wreck Chords. This included 2003's Revolutions Per Minute, recorded at the Blasting Room in Fort Collins — where the band has recorded most of its subsequent albums, like its 2011 offering, Endgame. The foursome's anthemic, infectious hooks probably make it seem like just another pop-punk band. And yet, even though Rise Against has become one of the most commercially successful of its peers, its songs are informed by a vibrant social consciousness that goes beyond the usual punk-rock tropes. Without resorting to hackneyed conceits, Rise Against seems to find a way to humanize serious issues facing people on an individual and global scale — thus proving that punk rock done big doesn't have to dumbed down.

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