Review Summary: Only for die-hard fans looking to complete the band’s discography, this 9 minute long EP is not great value for money & proves that some bands can become too popular for tour EPs.
EPs can often be difficult to judge and one must always consider the reasons for their release, since they can range from young bands attempting to get noticed, to veteran groups looking to experiment with a change in direction. Another type is the tour EP, which is usually more of a bonus for fans in a particular country than a bonafide release. However, a band can sometimes become too popular for such a thing, as Rise Against’s ‘This Is Noise’ proves.
Originally intended as a Canadian tour EP in mid 2007, it went on to have a staggered worldwide release, with the European version even including 2 extra live tracks. The first thing one is likely to notice about the EP is the fact that 3 of its 5 tracks are covers. Two of those cover the same band; Black Flag… And we’re not talking the mid to late 80s Henry Rollins era that most will recall. In fact, both songs date all the way back to the Keith Morris led debut single/E.P from 1978!
Both of these cuts – the 54 second ‘Fix Me’ and the closing ‘Nervous Breakdown’ – are rather simple musically. Furthermore, Tim McIlrath’s gruff vocals are unsuitably copycat in nature, rather than adding his own twist to proceedings. Better is the cover of melodic hardcore band Lifetime’s ‘Boys No Good’ (taken from 1997 album ‘Jerseys Best Dancers’) which opens up ‘This Is Noise’. Initially frenetically paced, the cut then settles down to something that is rather fun & catchy, even if it isn’t fully allowed to play out since it is just 75 seconds in duration.
While the three covers here are mildly disappointing to differing degrees, the highlights come from two previously recorded B-Sides. Contained on some versions of ‘Siren Song of the Counter Culture’ as a bonus track, ‘Obstructed View’ is a solid piece which rollicks along and contains some impressive work from the band’s rhythm section of Joe Principe and Brandon Barnes.
Better yet is a cast-off from ‘The Sufferer & The Witness’ recording sessions called ‘But Tonight We Dance’. This song could easily have snuck onto that brilliant LP, since it matches up well with many of the overlooked album tracks such as ‘Chamber The Cartridge’, ‘Under The Knife’ and ‘Worth Dying For’. The EP's longest track at just under 3 minutes in length, it at least allows the song to build up with all of Rise Against’s trademark ingredients evident.
Rise Against probably did not expect ‘This Is Noise’ to be given such a wide release. If they did, they surely would have included a few more B-Sides (For Example; ‘Built To Last’) and/or some live or acoustic recordings. A grand total of 9 minutes is simply not lengthy enough - even for an EP - while the value for money factor here is clearly low. While nothing is at all awful, only 2 or 3 of the included tracks are noteworthy, making this EP only appeal to die-hard fans looking to complete the band’s discography.
5 songs in nine minutes. That's punk at its finest. I think the failure with the summary is that you're assuming that people would 'pay' for this EP. I'm not saying they don't buy music, but it probably wouldn't be this.
One of my favorite punk albums is "The Daily Grind" by No Use for a Name and that album blows by quick. I think punk works better that way sometimes; look at "No Control" and "Suffer" by Bad Religion.
I personally think short songs like that work better around relatively longer tracks... Even in punk.
You imagine NoFX's song, The Decline, and how much praise it gets, but I wonder if it would be so loved if it was at the end of an album that had already been running for 20 or 30 minutes. Basically, I just think punk needs to have short running times to really be great.
As for the summary, there's not actually anything wrong with it. I was just being sarcastic.
Ahh, it was a sarcastic fail. That's still a fail though! ;-)
Good point on 'The Decline', but I think that's where the under-rated skill of track ordering comes into play. Even when dealing with shorter songs, I think certain tracks are best placed in certain positions. But point taken.
Yes, a good tracklist can go along way towards maintaining the pacing of an album, but punk... I don't know, it's different. Again, with Suffer or No Control you could shuffle every song around and it'll still be the same great album.
A 2 seems to fit your review, so go for it. I also don't see any issues with having your personal rating not match your review rating if you think it should be a 2.5 (I did that with the Lene Marlin review score, actually).
I try not to have different review ratings & personal ratings. I don't have anything against it as such (and am fine with others doing that), but I'd like to think that writing & then reading my own review has actually made me realize that I was initially over-rating it.
That is generally true, but sometimes you have an artist or album that you just take to and you know what the rating "should" be but you also know that it still doesn't reflect your personal feelings (or maybe it's just me).
The last sentence in the 5th paragraph sounds oddly phrased to me, like it's missing a word or something. Maybe it's just because it's 2 in the morning I dunno. Other than that...yeah. I don't think I'll be looking into this haha.
It needs a comma between "track" and "at" and then the "it" after the last comma needs to be removed... "in length" could be removed too. I also think "evident" would work better than "apparent" and EPs should be EP's ... ok, I'm done ;)
Yeah, personal bias of some kind will always be apparent, but I reckon it is anyway and readers should always know that a rating is from that individual person (whether in a review or not).
Brent, you grammar nazi. I can see how that sentence reads a little awkwardly & I recall not being totally happy with it at the time of writing. It probably does need a comma between the words "track" & "at". And I think in the case of that sentence, the aprostrophe should be added to EPs. You're on the ball Trey.
Hang on upagainstthewall, weren't you the one who was saying earlier this week that you loved 'Boys No Good'? If so, you may very well like this EP.