Madison Rising: American Hero

Few bands come onto the scene with such verve, intensity, and musical virtuosity as Madison Rising has with their self-titled debut album. Fewer still, do it while singing the praises of our Nation’s defenders, lauding the virtues of the Second Amendment, calling for racial harmony and National unity. Even fewer still have the intestinal fortitude and determination of a just cause to overcome an overtly hostile media, nasty tricks by fb, and the liberal Entertainment Industry elite’s black-listing to not only survive, but thrive, going on to play at venues from intimate as a grade-school class-room via Skype, to as immense as Sturgis, and multiple NFL half-time shows. Of those that do, and almost none live on to produce a second album, let alone another anthemic tour-de-force.

Madison Rising’s, “American Hero” is just such an instant icon. Though a bit edgier and grim than their debut album because of some of the topics explored in it, their second album is no less inspirational than their first was in my opinion, and it has more of the determined confidence acquired only by being forged in the crucible of adversity, tested on the battlefield of public opinion, and honed to a razors edge by experience and success.

It opens with their rockin’ rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner”, which was inspired when Bill Press and Daniel Tosh decided to publicly mock our National Anthem, and has moved many patriots of all ages and walks of life to tears, and has taken on a life of it’s own in spite of attempts to tear it down from many predictable, and a few surprising corners. Simply put, I STILL get goose bumps when I hear it!

Track 2, “Ready If It Goes There” inspires us to look beyond the dire straits our ship of state appears to be navigating, and reminds us that it is our choice to either lay down while they walk across our backs, or stand in defiance of those who would see us foundering on the rocks, and that a single man with his fist in the air can inspire a multitude of others to rise up in defiance. It also serves as a warning to our Nation’s enemies that while we prefer peace, there are things we are willing to fight for.

I’ve rarely (if ever) heard the exhilarating feeling of freedom and self-determination I’ve experienced only in riding a motorcycle, so masterfully captured and expressed as in the lyrics and driving music of “Open Road”. Watch the speedometer if yer cruising down the highway when track 3 comes on!

The 4th track, “Hallowed Ground II” is a soulful tribute to all those who made the ultimate sacrifice at the alter of liberty, and a fitting follow up to their debut album’s “Hallowed Ground”. If you should watch your speedometer while listening to the previous track, you should probably pull over for this one, because I get misty just writing about it.

Though the causes and effects of PTSD are wide ranging and uniquely personal to each survivor, “Reflections (PTSD)” is too complex and deep to sum up in a couple of sentences, other than to say that anybody who has been touched by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder will be moved by this. All I can do is try to give you an idea of how it “feels” to me: A subdued but relentless bass and drum beat sets the back-drop of the daily grinding of life’s necessities, haunted by an eerily melodic guitar that gives the feeling of stumbling through the day as if in a dream-state. Dave’s voice softly intones the long reverie of the accounting of loss and sacrifice, slowly building in desperation and barely contained rage until the climactic expression of frustration, clinging to the only hope of salvation as the crashing cymbals echo the shattering facade of normalcy raining down once more.

To me, and I can’t quite put my finger on why, the 6th track, “Something Wicked” is something of a dichotomy. While both lyrics and melody are reminiscent of a quietly desperate warning of things to come, I can’t help but come away from it with a sense that somehow, in spite of everything arrayed against us, we’ll come through it alright. Perhaps a bit worse for the wear, but stronger, and hopefully wiser, for the experience.American Hero’s 7th track, “Hero”, builds on this feeling, and while simultaneously pointing out the fact that we need a hero, we, you and I, are the hero we’ve been looking for. That it is ultimately our own responsibility to be the person we’ve all been waiting for to come along and fix the problems we face. “When we stand together, there’s nothing that we can’t achieve”!

There’s not a lot I can say about track 8, “Lock n’ Load” other than it rocks as hard as the US Navy SEALS’s it honors! Straight up BAD-ASS!

Where the debut album’s “Rally The Youth” called on us to get our young men and women involved, American Hero’s 9th track, “Come To The Ready” is an unapologetic rallying call to all ages, and a reminder that those of us who have sworn an oath to defend our nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic, have not forgotten it, and that those who would destroy this nation had better remember it as well.

Madison Rising’s heart-felt and moving rendition of “America The Beautiful” is the final track, and an serves with the “Star Spangled Banner” as an excellent way to book-end their second album. On a side note, I’ve got to say it’s also a lot of fun to see the expressions on people’s faces as I pull into a parking lot with either of these patriotic standards blaring, and has giving me numerous opportunities to introduce people to Madison Rising, their music, and their mission, and provided no small amount of laughter at ticked off liberals who scowl, but can’t seem to figure out how to say anything without sounding like they hate America. 😉

A quick reminder, I’m not a member of Madison Rising (though I am their self described I’ll close this review of Madison Rising’s 2nd album by quoting from the back cover, and sharing a link to a video for track 2, “Ready If It Goes There”:”This album is respectfully dedicated to the men and women of our armed forces, along with the police, firefighters and other first responders whose sacrifice and selfless dedication to the service of this country, at home and abroad, help this great nation to remain the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

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