Artist: Rise Against
Album: The Sufferer & the Witness
Comments: I was unsure of how this album would be at first. Rise Against had not put out an album that disappointed me yet, but the same thing went for less than Jake until May of this year. I was optimistic though and listened to any song I could from the record before it came out. At first my initial fear was that the album would lack the heaviness impact that was so evident on The Unraveling and my personal favorite Revolutions per Minute. At the same time I really wanted there to be the melodic qualities like on Siren Song of the Counter Culture.
When the album was released I made sure to get a copy within my hands very soon, and I was beyond pleased. The first track, "Chamber the Cartridge" begins with a faint roll on the snare drum, which then gets heavier and then guitar comes in with a catchy guitar rift. The song is fast, aggressive, and the lyrics are like any other rise against song, amazing. It resembles "heaven Knows" in my opinion. The song ends and fades into the intro to "Injection" which is a bit slower than the previous track, but just as aggressive and sounds like something I could have heard on Revolutions per Minute.
Next is the first single off the album "Ready to Fall". It's a great choice as the single, it could definitely appeal to fans of any kind of rock, but at the same time contains all the classic rise against elements, for example the screams in the pre chorus which I definitely could have done with more of this CD. The next track, "Bricks", could have fit on the unraveling easy, its fast, heavy, and contains anthem worthy lyrics. Afterwards, "Under the Knife" It keeps up with the trend of great songs that you’d want to hear from rise against, showing that even though they are slowly becoming semi main-stream; their signature sound isn’t being compromised. The next track is " Prayer of the Refugee" it is one of the slower songs in the beginning, and Mcilrath shows both sides of his vocal talent, with soothing lyrics in the verses, and the beloved raspy screaming that he’s so well-known for. I also enjoy that the lyrics are political, but not about Iraq like every other song out recently.
The next song is quite possibly the best song on the CD. "Drones" has everything you could ask for from McIlrath and company in a song. It's Aggressive, its melodic, it will be stuck in your head forever or so it seems. Afterwards is a rather experimental track for rise against. "The Approaching Curve" strays very far from their style, even compared to their acoustic songs. It has spoken word verses, a catchy chorus, and resembles something of the likes of At the Drive-in.
"worth Dying For" is next, the intro has a steady kick drum beating with guitars which leads into the fast passed verses, and heavy choruses, and in particular a great bridge showcasing McIlraths vocals a little more. "Behind Closed Doors" follows and somewhat resembles "Like the Angel" a bit. Keeping up the trend somewhat started on the previous CD Siren Song, a slow acoustic song is contained on the CD. However, “Roadside" doesn't resemble "Swing Life Away" all that much at all. This is probably the best display of McIlrath's vocal versatility. And female backing vocals and a really good effect to the song. The following song, "The Good Left Undone" is my favorite, and quite possibly the strongest track on the album. Its heavy, and very poetic, "In fields where nothing grew but weeds,I found a flower at my feet,Bending there in my direction,I wrapped a hand around its stem,I pulled until the roots gave in,Finding now what I’ve been missing.." the fast passed verses lead to a time change into the slower heavier Choruses, and there is an instrumental at the end of the song as well. The final track is titled "Survive". This track somewhat resembles the previous one with fast verses and slow heavy choruses, and also is the reason for the Parental advisory sticker on the record.
The CD ends and leaves you wanting more after such a great closing track, much like after "Rumors of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated" of the previous record. After listening to this record the whole way through, it didn’t leave my CD player for close to a month, and still doesn’t seem overplayed, and at this point in time is my personal best record in 2006 thus far.
Key Tracks: "Drones", "The Good Left Undone", "Worth Dying For", "Chamber the Cartridge"
Worth the Money: Yes, more than worth it by far.
Note: Much love to Steve Kotchm who gave me the most afully spelled guest review yet. Regardless, Steve is still a great drummer, and is currenlty druming for Upstate NY's finest punk band "Kicker" and playing for NY's worst joke band "Getting High and Fighting a Bear".