Rise Against
The Sufferer and the Witness


4.5
superb

Review

by Damrod EMERITUS
July 4th, 2006 | 314 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


There's a new drug out. If you're a Rise Against fan, that is. It's called "The Sufferer & the Witness" and brings the dedicated listener 13 brand new tracks from the Chicago-based Punk/Hardcore band. This is the second major release of Rise Against after they signed with the major label Geffen (sub-label of Universal) for "Siren Song of the Counterculture". And as I absolutely love Siren Song, this album has some quite large footprints to fill out for me.

The opener "Chamber the cartridge" proves that the band stayed true to their previous efforts and style, that's for sure. The song is straight forward, has a driving beat, and animates to sing along. Maybe even more than all Rise Against songs did before. Not a bigsuprise, but a wonderful start. It's clear that Tim McIlrath stays with the usual topics as well. He is by no means afraid to point the finger at stuff he thinks goes wrong or sucks. Which means the topics are political as well as society issues, but also personal expiriences turned into songs.

At first, it really seems that there are no real changes. At all. As one is used to with Rise Against, the songs are sometimes a bit simple, but VERY effective. Nice guitar melodies, accompanied by a rythm section that drives forward. So, is this a carbon copy of "Siren song of the counter culture" then?

No, though there is not much stuff that is new, there is still new stuff. And even the songs that come around like the typical Rise Against song are... different in a way. This album is quite catchy. When you hear the songs, you just have to move or sing along. Even my mom does so, and she's not really the Hardcore/Punk-type. So the catchyness factor definately went up after Siren Song. Still there are some interesting new treats in there.

The first one: "The approaching curve". The song is, speaking of the vocals, spoken word 80% of the time. Basically a story is told, as if it is Tim himself. Only the chorus and the bridge are sung in the known way. Though it's basically the transcript of the usual fight couples have now and then, it just grips you. To the bitter end:

Our cracking voices became part of the music. The car pressed on faster through he night. As our voices lowered, the cadence again overtook the air. Up ahead there was a curve approaching. She made no indications of slowing.

Yes, that is kind of cliché. Still, I think it's one of the strongest songs on the album. It's interesting how the female backing vocals fit in there. They do even better on another song.

The second one: "Roadside". You could say this song is the "Swing life away" of the record. Though much darker and melancholic. The clear vocals accompanied by clean guitar and a cello, and female backing vocals joining in from the first chorus onward. Slight piano in the background, string arrangements. That's quite unusual for Rise Against, but creates a dense atmosphere. Emotionally definately one of the strongest on this record. Though it's not the fastest song, it does not slow the record down. After the song it goes on with the usual speed.

One of the absolute highlights for me is the final song. It starts epic. First you get served a one minute intro. Slightly distorted bass, drums setting accents, constant strumming in the background, clean guitar above that. Slight strings in the background. And then the song just explodes. Straight forward. Excellent lyrics, good statement. This song sums up the album perfectly. Some tempo variations here and there, small step on the break to explode again later on. (Yes, I'm in love with this song. Sue me ;))

The songs mentioned are the strongest for me, Roadside, Survive, The approaching curve and Prayer of the Refugee. Which does not mean that the other ones are weak. Hell no. This album is easily the best Rise Against have released so far. It is one line of "sing-along-bang-your-head-mosh-around"-songs. Literally. I want to see someone who owns any of their previous albums who will not be in love with this one. You liked their previous stuff? You will adore this one. Believe me. Looking for a good summer record that has serious topics in the lyrics, and still serves you a good mood? This is the one.

For me definately one of the best albums in 2006 so far



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user ratings (2399)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
July 4th 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I absolutely cannot stand Rise Against, but this was a solid review anyways. I've listened to two songs off of this (plus the single equals 3 yay for math), and I still think its just bad.

labonza01
July 4th 2006


546 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i love rise against, they are actually my favorite band. I'm not sure that i believe that this can be better than RPMs, but i know that i'll buy it when i find it.

nick962
July 4th 2006


377 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I can't wait to buy this tommorow, although I listened to the feed on their myspace already. It sounds good, and you described it well, but in my opinion, i don't think it can surpass Revolutions Per Minute, but maybe it needs more time.

Damrod
Moderator
July 4th 2006


1093 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Well, I always liked "Siren Song" better than "Revolutions per Minute", so maybe that's why I deem it the best they have done so far. Bute yeah, you know, opinions and stuff :D

The Sludge
July 4th 2006


2169 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I'm oozing in my pants, I'm walking 3 miles to get this after work because I cant drive . Good review. I heard this on the MySpace band page, its honestly is possibly some of RA best work.

BTW, I do think RPM is that good too, so this record honestly says something. But I will give it some time to wear off. This Message Edited On 07.04.06

Full Collapse299
July 4th 2006


507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I absolutely love "RPM", just listened to "Siren Song" yesterday and I think I like it more. I heard this album on their myspace and I think I like it the most. It's only like 8 o'clock here so I've got a couple hours until I get a ride to go get it.

Tam-Tam
July 4th 2006


93 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

My rating might change given another week or so, but for the first week its been a fun ride. At this point in time I haven't grown tired of RA, thus I was happy when I first heard the opening track and all seemed 'normal'.
As the album flows on, there are steps taken in different directions, but nothing that struck me as out of place, above or beneath them. Very solid album, from an entirely professional outfit. I'd say "we need more bands like these guys"...but then again, that wouldn't be right.

Storm In A Teacup
July 4th 2006


13149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I'm flattered you think I'm the frontman of Rise Against. ;)
Awesome review. I just got the album less than half an hour ago and have listened to three tracks so far

riobravo1023
July 4th 2006


274 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I think you mean Tim McIlrath, not Ian McGrath.

RunAmokRampant
July 5th 2006


228 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Rise Against have always made decent punk/hardcore music and I think this latest effort could surpass RPM. Although I'm a bit disappointed that they didn't try anything right out of their comfort zone, this album solidifies them as one of the best in the scene.

The Sludge
July 5th 2006


2169 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

^^ well put

Damrod
Moderator
July 5th 2006


1093 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Damn, I really confuse a lot of names in my reviews lately... corrected.

The Jungler
July 5th 2006


4827 Comments


Good job Damrod, I've only heard the single off this and it's on my long list of CD's to check out.

kno_kontrol
July 5th 2006


448 Comments


I like this CD alot. Not sure if it Surpasses RPM, but I still think its quite good. Its melodically tight, extremely well played, and technically solid, the only problem that I have with the album is that it seems to want to go in a few different directions. Sometimes, they want to be a shred-heavy hardcore band, other times, they want to play melodic punk, and then sometimes they want to be Cave In. Its weird, but I still enjoy the record immensely.

obese_breasts
July 6th 2006


7 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great cd, not worthy of a 5 though, that is saved for RPM in my book.

raff2550
July 6th 2006


2 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Definately their finest cd yet. I bought it the day it came out and it was better than I thought. In my opinion it was better than RPM, just because the songs are so catchy. RPM was a great cd but you can't just listen to each song once on this cd, they stick in your head even if you don't realize it. With the new cd they even made their support for PETA public with the music video of "ready to fall." They also tried something new with a back-up singer for "roadside," and copied The Mars Volta a little bit with "the approaching curve." Since I'm from Chicago, I can say that I have been a fan of RA ever since about 6th grade and my love for the band has only increased through the years. To make this short; great band, great cd, and I can't wait to see them at the Warped Tour

labonza01
July 7th 2006


546 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

i like this album alot, but i think i need to wait a week or 2 before i decide if it is as good as RPM

Serpento
July 7th 2006


2351 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Class review, agreed with everything up there; Survive and The Approaching Curve are the strongest songs on the album, closely followed by Roadside, Prayer and Injection. Also, for a bonus track, But Tonight We Dance is far up that list as well in my opinion. Now I just have to wait until these guys take Warped Tour to Uniondale, 3 hour drives are worth seeing this live.

Two-Headed Boy
July 7th 2006


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I need this. Now. I'm not even joking. I'll steal it. I'll pirate it. I just need it.

The Sludge
July 8th 2006


2169 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Well, you can go into Meijers, put it in your pocket, enter the camping section, cut it open with a key or something, take the disc and booklet out in your pocket. Then poop on yourself for actually stealing it. :::::::: Just look for a friend whwo has it or something.

This has been non stop in my cd player as long as their other albums had (and has) in the past. This owns over RPM as far as flow goes, but RPM still has a bit better sing-a-longs. Plus that Journey cover was pretty rad.



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