Named after the founding father who penned the Constitution, Madison Rising is a high-energy rock powerhouse on a mission to celebrate America, honor its veterans (lead singer Dave Bray is a Navy vet), and make bold and edgy political statements that are usually the domain of conservative country artists. Though they bill themselves as the "quintessential All-American rock band," and they're at their best on crunching anthems like the opening tracks "Right to Bear" and "Soldiers of America," their socially conscious aesthetic is reminiscent of the pointed folk music of the '60s -- even though they are presumably on the other side of the political fence. Their handful of breaks from the intense (but effective) bombast are engaging as well, with "Walking Through That Door" (about a soldier moving away from home to join the service) sounding like a classic '80s midtempo pop/rocker and the violin-tinged "Hallowed Ground" creating a poignant and hypnotic power ballad effect. The message of some of the songs on their debut may only be appreciated by about half the country, but the ones honoring our veterans are slam-dunk potential patriotic classics everyone who loves America can enjoy.
AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran