Rise Against is a Chicago based punk rock band that formed in the year of 1999. Lead singer and guitarist Tim Mcllrath said in an interview recently that when bassist Joe Principe, and he first started the band that they decided right away that they wanted their band to have an uplifting positive opinion instead of having a negative opinion on things like so many other bands have done. It is obvious that Rise Against is continuing that philosophy with their third album, and major label debut, Siren Song of the Counter Culture, which was released on Geffen Records in the year 2004.
While keeping an overall sound that belongs to them, Rise Against have songs on here that are very different from each other. The opening song State of the Union
might even mislead some people into thinking that they are the 21st centuryís version of Motorhead. Where they combine music that could definitely qualify as having a metal feel, with shouted, if not at times screamed vocals that have a deep political meaning to them. However, most of the album is much more tame than that of the opening song, but still has an undeniable heaviness that most punk rock bands lack these days. The lyrics on the album are absolutely some of the most intelligent and well thought out lyrics I have ever read. Many subjects are covered in the lyrics, such as politics, moving on, lost love, and lonliness that are written by Tim that many people can relate to. Album opener State of the Union
is about the United States being guilty of "not stopping a murder of a people just like us", reffering to the war in Iraq. Anywhere but Here
is about moving on and forgetting about what you leave behind, but still being lonely in the end. Another thing that I love about the lyrics is that sometimes when I hear a song that I like a lot without knowing what the lyrics are, but when I read the lyrics to the song, I donít like it as much. That doesnít happen at all with this record In fact, most songs mean more to me after I read them. A good example of that would probably be the song Paper Wings
, which is about lost love. ďOne last thing I beg you please just before you go. Iíve watched you fly on paper wings halfway around the world until they burned up in the atmosphere and sent you spiraling down. Landing somewhere far from here with no one else around, to catch you falling down and Iím looking at you now."
Tim also really works the vocals well with the lyrics so that they always fit well with the music. While they are no doubt a political punk band, Rise Against sings about much more than then politics. To Them These Streets Belong
is about regret and Blood to Bleed
is about lost love. Paper Wings, the song that I already showed some lyrics to, is about letting life pass by when you should really grab it by the horns and take control of your own destiny.
The guitar work from Tim, and Chris Chasse is done rather well throughout the album; there are no real weak spots that they ever have. The acoustic workings in Swing Life Away
and parts in the other songs such as Dancing for Rain
, and Paper Wings
provide a nice break from the catchy electric riffs that rule the album. Timís voice is a variety of singing softly, yelling out, and at some points screaming that all work well together with each song. The bass is surprisingly good on many of the songs and doesnít just follow the guitars the entire time and the drumming done by Brandon Barnes at times is rather stellar, but can also be weak at times. He still compliments the music nicely however. The production is clean and the fact that there arenít any guest performances is rather refreshing because it shows that Rise Against are a band that doesnít depend on help to be recognized.
+All songs have their own individuality
+Good musicianship overall.
+Vocals from Tim and backup vocals from Chris and Joe are almost perfect.
+This album is catchy and still retains a punk rock feel to it.
+All songs are at the very least great, and there are no fillers here.
-People that have only heard Swing Life Away might be disappointed with the rest of the album because it is the only whole acoustic song and there really arenít any other slow songs on here.
Overall this record has catchy guitar hooks, bouncing bass leads, and drum beats that hold everything together well. Siren Song of the Counter Culture is definitely a punk record, but has more meaningful lyrics than most punk bands usually do. Rise Against have created an album that has absolutely no faults in it and could be considered one of the more serious albums ever written. Simply put, Siren Song of the Counter Culture is an album that defines what Rise Against is, a band that can embrace different styles of song writing while still maintaining that punk rock sound. This album is without a doubt the best that 2004 has to offer. Anyone who loves music can easily embrace this.