Rise Against
Siren Song of the Counter Culture


4.5
superb

Review

by AmericnZero02 USER (6 Reviews)
July 1st, 2005 | 91 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist


Chicago's Rise Against began in 1999 when ex-88 Fingers Louie bassist Joe Principe tapped area vocalist Tim Mcllrath for a new project rooted in the sound and social vision of traditionalist hardcore. Joined by fellow 88 Fingers vet Dan Precision on guitar and, eventually, drummer Brandon Barnes, Rise Against signed to Fat Wreck and issued The Unraveling in 2001. Extensive touring followed, leading to their sophomore outing, 2002's Revolutions Per Minute. After solid response from fans and critics alike, as well as a stint on the high-exposure Warped Tour, Rise Against left the Fat Wreck fold for DreamWorks/Geffen. By this point, guitar duties were being handled by Chris Chasse (Reach the Sky). Rise Against made their big-time debut in August 2004 with the grandiosely titled Siren Song of the Counter Culture. (taken from MTV.com profile on Rise Against)

On Siren Song of the Counter Culture Rise Against is:
Joe Principe - Bass/Backing Vocals
Tim McIlrath - Vocals/Backing Guitar
Branden Barnes - Drums
Chris Chasse - Guitar/Backing Vocals

1. State of the Union
Good introduction to the album, but this track led me to think that this album was heavier than it really is. Much more screaming than any other track. Anyways the song starts off punching you in the face with that killer heavy guitar riff. The high point of this track is the bridge where Tim's lyrics read "Guilty is what our graves will read, no year no family..." My only problem with this song is how short it is. The song ends after the bridge. Still a good track. 8/10

2. The First Drop
Quite the change from the first track. Chris and Brandon work well together in this one. Alto riffage layerd over quick drumming that is apparent throughout the song. The subtle guitar/bass lines during the verses compliment the vocals. The vocals kinda take over the verses, but Tim is a very good song writer so I'm not complaining. I like the chorus in that Tim's lyrics are really fast but at the same time the the backing vocals are slow, and laid back. 8/10

3. Life Less Frightening
Great intro to the song. As soon as it starts, Joe's bass really takes over the song. Great bass line. Its very simple and sounds great, it fits with the vocals very well. Both are very bright and "bouncy" one might say. The bass in the bridge is awesome too. As far as the other instruments go, they are rather similar to that of "The First Drop". I like how the bridge drills the lyrics in your mind with the apex of the song that screams "Is there a god tonight, up in the sky? or is it empty just like me?" 8.5/10

4.Paper Wings
Great introduction to the song. A speedy rhythm section under a guitar piece that sounds as if it could be a solo. The lyrics in the verses are very entertaining. They aren't political like the rest of the songs, but still meaningful. The acoustic guitar in the bridge that with the quiet vocals building up to the chorus is a nice touch. Killer guitar solo as well. 8/10

5. Blood to Bleed
Excellent bass line. It's always nice to hear bass players that play more than one string at a time. The vocals in the verses present a very sinister, almost metal feeling to the song. A very dark sounding track until the chorus comes, which then becomes more of a mellow song. Chris' Solo in this one is very interesting. It's very simple but because it is molded perfectly with the tempo and the mood of the song it makes for a great listen. 8/10

6. To Them These Streets Belong
A much more punk sounding song than any of the previous tracks. The song explodes after Tim says the track title the first time. The song has a very energetic flow throughout the entire song. The backing shouts leading to Tim's yelling in the verse make for a great buildup to the chorus, which is equally great. The harmonized backing vocals in the chorus really fill the song out and make it more memorable. 8/10

7. Tip the Scales
My favorite track off the album. The savage guitar intro soon leads to the bass, drums and guitar all just jamming, hard to explain, but sounds awesome. The angry lyrics as well as the guitar during with the verses. "Tip the Scales" presents Tim's distaste for the how the American government treats it's people; "our lives will not be lived in vain". The two seperate brakedowns (one bass, one guitar) are excellent. Both bass and a guitar solo in one song is hard to comeby nowadays. 10/10

8. Anywhere But Here
A somewhat mellow song. "Anywhere But Here" is probably the closest any of these songs get to being a filler. Drums are predominant throughout the song and are particularly great during the verses. This track offers a really catchy, singalong-type chorus. I honestly have trouble not singing along with "Destination, anywhere but here". Not much else too special with this track. 7.5/10

9. Give It All
My second favorite off the album and first single, great selection. Really fast paced verses with more of Tim's great lyrics. I like how the second half of the second verse looses the guitar and the lyrics are quieted down. It brings an unexpected silence to the song amongst the distortion and yelling. While chorus lyrics are dumbed down a little bit, it makes for one of the best and most memorable parts of Siren Song of the Counter Culture. But if the rest of the song didn't do it for you, the last few lines of the song really sum up what the song is about. "Today I offer up myself to this..." 10/10

10. Dancing For Rain
Great intro to the song with the slow acousic guitar turning into the really fast guitar and drums. Not something one might expect from Rise Against. I like how the speed and sound of the song changes so much throughout the song, from acousitc guitar, to speed punk, to screaming at the end. Tim's use of "Dancing For Rain" to describe how desperate people are in the wold makes for a clever metaphor. 8/10

11. Swing Life Away
The second single off the album. Great performance by Tim in the song. He shows us that he doesn't need to scream to make a great song. The lyrics are really universal. Lots of the things Tim says make me think or brings back old memories. Sounds like Tim poured his heart out into this one. The lyrics are really good throughout the song. "If love is a labor I'll slave to the end." 9/10

12. Rumors of My Demise have been Greatly Exaggerated
Just hearing the opening guitar, you know this is going to be an energetic and explosive finish to the album. That same energy flows throughout the song. This song definitely has the best bridge of the album. The striking vocals ("shots fired!, into the sky") leading to the quick tempo offers one of the best moments of the album. The lyrics of the chorus really make the song a good ending to the album with "When I die." The very end of the song turns into only the vocals and the guitar which sound great. 9.5/10

Summary:
After hearing Siren Song of the Counter Culture I was convinced Rise Against had resurrected punk. To many (including myself at one point) punk is a overly simple genre littered with power chords and less than meaningful lyrics. Thankfully Rise Against and similar bands have established hope for a genre that seems to have begun to be forgotten. Siren Song of the Counter Culture has broken the stereotypical punk norm and moved Rise Against to the forefront of modern punk. Every song on the album is loaded with emotion, ambition, and skillful musicianship. I planned on writing a pros/cons section for this review, but I honestly can't think of any major cons. The album doesn't have one bad song. Only a few really good ones, but I can't ask for anything else. While this album would be most appreciated by political activists and those who enjoy hardcore punk, this album has something to offer listeners of all genres. Anyways I hope you all enjoy this album as much as I do.

BTW: This was my first review, I'd really appreciate if you guys let me know how I did.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Tenfootbrett
July 1st 2005


149 Comments


Great job. And it looks even better because I agree with you on most of your points. I thought RA's first album was pretty standard, more along 88 Fingers Louie's line, and I wasn't a fan (even though I saw them live around then, and they blew me away)... But yeah, Revolutions Per Minute is one of my favorites of all time, and Siren Song somehow bested it, so yeah... uh... wow.
I'd have to say, my favorite part of the album though: "Shots fired... into the sky... are now returning.. where the F*** will you hide?"

captain chris
July 5th 2005


73 Comments


I have been meaning to get this album since the day it came out, never got round to it (for two reasons lack of money adn lack of good music stores that sell the damn cd) i finally got it this weekend. It is a very kool album. But it does sound a bit more to the main stream side of music this time round. It is not as good as Revolutions per minute (which rox my sox, one of my fav albums) but still a good album. i wud give it
3.5 - 4 still ahvent decided fully.

my good chumsThis Message Edited On 07.05.05

Tenfootbrett
July 5th 2005


149 Comments


This isn't more radio friendly man...

Most of RA's songs are on the lighter side of things. Siren Song was like a fusion between the best of The Unraveling and the best of Revolutions Per Minute. Though I'm not sure whether I like this better than RPM or not. The only radio friendly song I can find on there... well, I suppose there are 2. Blood to Bleed and Paper Wings. The rest, if they make radio play, will only do so because they're that good. (Swing LIfe Away is also ultra soft, I know, but that's not a radio song. You never hear acoustics on the radio nowadays, though of course the media bought that one up... because it was so damned awesome.

captain chris
July 5th 2005


73 Comments


when did anyone say it was radio friendly?

Tenfootbrett
July 5th 2005


149 Comments


"But it does sound a little more on the mainstream something something..." you said. I forgot what you said, so I put words in your mouth. Oops, sorry. (but I don't think it's really any more mainstream than RPM anyways, despite that they have 2 less 'heavy' screaming songs on Siren Song.)

captain chris
July 5th 2005


73 Comments


im a glad that is sorted. But i still can see alot more people buying this album and liking it, than The Unraveling or Revolutions Per Minute. mite just be me though.

my good chums.

Rudd13
July 5th 2005


952 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review. Life less frightnening and The first drop own
I was supposed to see them on july 6th but they were sold out

Tenfootbrett
July 5th 2005


149 Comments


You think you're unlucky? I was supposed to see them, but I had a final exam during the concert, then the day after.

granted, I had seem them twice already, but not post-Siren Song.

Shattered_Future
July 5th 2005


1541 Comments


I found this used at a game store for 6 bucks...

Was a great deal. I like this cd a lot...don't listen to much punk, but this cd is starting to change my mind towards the genre.

Great review as well.

captain chris
July 8th 2005


73 Comments


After listening to this album a bit more at work and on the way to it. I have come to the conclusion that it is on par with Revolutions Per Minute. so it gets 4.5 from me! Very kool album indeedy. I would say my fav songs on the album but it will be a lot quicker to say the one that i think is the worst on the album (allthough it still isnt half bad) 'Anywhere But Here'. I would tell everyone who likes punk rock, even people who dont like it to get this album.

My good chums
Smooches xxx

jonesi1992
July 9th 2005


17 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I love this album but i came to the hard question of is it better than rpm i honestly dont know yet but all i know is this is fuking awesome and there are so many great songs on it. I cant decide which are my favourites . I recommend anyone gettin this album

Bass_swede
July 9th 2005


1 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I love State of the union. The best song, I wished that most of the record would be like that but it's still great!

DFelon204409
Emeritus
July 9th 2005


3996 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's a decent CD but it's not as impassioned as their older stuff, namely Revolutions Per Minute. I just can't deny how much that rules.

Fabz
July 13th 2005


136 Comments


Dan Precision as left Rise Against right after Unravelling he is not playing anymore with this band since that time...

RomoCosmo14
July 15th 2005


67 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I picked up this CD, (I really dont know why, cuz i dont like punk rock much), but i think that it is excellent. Great lyrics, guitars, and drums. I recomend for anyone that...

1. Likes Screaming
2. Hates Bush
3. Likes Screaming Bands that Hate Bush

guitarplay911
July 18th 2005


6 Comments


i never really thought rise against was punk. i listen to a lot of punk and it usually doesnt have that much screaming. it doesnt have a lot of skillful music either.

Tenfootbrett
July 31st 2005


149 Comments


they're not a screaming band. They're a yelling band, with occasional screaming. but they certainly do hate Bush.

they're so emotional, yet melodic. awesome stuff

Tenfootbrett
July 31st 2005


149 Comments


oh, and guitarplay911, punk is a much broader genre than the ramones, sex pistols, and other such talentless hoser-bands that were only famous because they were anarchists. Rise Against IS punk. through and through. a different style than most, yes, but still very much punk.

(>dragon~guitarist<)
August 21st 2005


243 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

SSOTCC is much more on the mainstream side than RPM, but still a very enjoyable album. I definitely liked the solo in Blood To Bleed and the half time feel in the chorus in Dancing For Rain.

T00lishness
September 5th 2005


9 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'm not much of a fan of Hardcore music except for AFI, but i freekin love this album like no other. There's nothing about it that i don't like. Lyrics are the best part of it if you ask me. Then the guitar work followed by the Vox.
Playing guitar myself...i would have to say that a lot of the guitar riffs on here are quite impressive, including the acoustic stuff on "Swing life away".
To me this band is a more serious Hardcore version of Rage against the machine. This is deffinitely one of the better political cd's out there. If you don't have it....well u should!



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