Rise Against
The Sufferer and the Witness


4.0
excellent

Review

by Tyler Fisher EMERITUS
August 29th, 2006 | 22 replies


Release Date: 2006 | Tracklist


It’s not surprising that Rise Against hail from Chicago. Chicago grew up in the industrial revolution, although having to restart in the Great Fire of 1871. It hosted the World Columbian Exposition, among the world’s most influential fairs in history. However, the real connection between Chicago and Rise Against is in the nickname The Windy City. The man who coined the term Windy City, a New York journalist, made the term due to the quick way ideas spread throughout Chicago, not for the excessive wind in the city. Rise Against, in that manner, spread their own message quick and fast. With swift political ideas, the band gleams with an angry intensity that still hasn’t diminished from Revolutions per Minute. The Sufferer and the Witness is an intense, raging album of stories, messages, and ideas.

Rise Against is:
Tim McIlrath - Lead Vocals/Guitar
Chris Chasse - Guitar/Backing Vocals
Joe Principe - Bass/Backing Vocals
Brandon Barnes - Drums

Rise Against have certainly made a name for themselves. They stand among the many bands taking a political viewpoint as one of the honest and true bands. Their music accompanies their message perfectly, a furious brand of punk rock. A driving rhythm section, with typical punk rock drums and that bright picked bass tone, allows for the rest of the band to build tremendous energy off of them. The guitar interplay creates excellent melodic structure even in the normally power chord infested punk rock layout. However, on Revolutions Per Minute and Siren Songs, the band normally went through an extremely similar sound. Siren Songs began to explore more melodic songs, but many songs like State of the Union stayed in their usual style. The Sufferer and the Witness makes further explorations, the band certainly remembers and uses their excellently refined punk sound. The explorations include a much softer Roadside, which pulls in clean guitar lines and female back up vocals. Tim McIlrath shows an excellent evolution in his vocals, making a perfect baritone-tenor voice that accompanies the female back-up vocals perfectly. Strings add more vibrancy and life to Roadside, and all in all make the most beautiful song ever from the band.

Rise Against also knows how to get fans. Ready to Fall is an incredibly catchy single with a powerful video accompaniment. The band, entirely vegans, made a video protesting animal torture. Although the lyrics are much more introspective and speak more towards a relationship than animal torture, the video is plenty enough. Musically, the song relies entirely on the angry sound of the band. The verse enters an uptempo speed with the bass outlining the chord progression. With Tim screaming in the prechorus, the song pulsates forward into the climatic half time feel in the chorus. Tim’s chorus is one of the most anthemic of the band’s history. The song may stand as one of the best punk singles of the year. However, the most strictly punk rock song is certainly Bricks. The song only lasts for a minute and a half. Opening with just a drum beat, a guitar slide down the fretboard leads the band into a quick, simple verse-chorus-verse-chorus. However, slight variations in guitar riffing and slight nuances in the bass make the song all the more interesting. Although the band’s main lyrical intention has always been political, The Approaching Curve tells a story of a relationship. The song takes the half-time uplifting chorus style established in Ready to Fall, but the verse is spoken word from Tim. His writing tells a heart-felt story that avoids cliché through Tim’s word choice and writing ability. The song ends with the girl crashing the car intentionally, implying suicide.

However, Rise Against makes sure they don’t fall into doing the same exact process for every song. Prayer of the Refugee takes the opposite approach of Ready to Fall. The verse takes a much softer approach, with a clean guitar tone and clean, melancholic vocals. However, a distorted guitar builds some steam in the verse before exploding into a fast, furious chorus. The chorus is so uplifting and powerful; it alone makes Prayer of the Refugee a contender for best song on the album. Survive stands as the other contender, a 5 minute song that is as close to epic as a Rise Against song gets. The song starts with a longing guitar riff and cymbal swells. After the minute long intro of a much more rubato and freeform style, the song explodes into a punk feel and some of the best riffing on the album. Once that movement closes, a high hat click allows a much sparser and a bit slower movement, consisting of only 3 guitar hits in between Tim’s singing. Slowly, a full guitar strum pattern and drum beat enters. The song flawlessly and without pause transitions into the faster tempo to close out the song on an energetic and powerful note.

As far as the rest of the album, there are no truly terrible songs. However, most of the rest fall into a mesh of the typical Rise Against sound. Listening to each song individually, they are all great songs, but the few that standout are either the perfect execution of Rise Against punk or departures for the band. The other songs, such as Chamber the Cartridge, Drones, and Worth Dying For all sound like the stereotypical Rise Against song. That is not necessarily a bad thing, as Rise Against have a fun, catchy formula to their music, but it also makes for a slight lack in variety. However, all in all, Rise Against produce a true and excellent album with The Sufferer and the Witness.

Recommended Tracks:
Ready to Fall
Prayer of the Refugee
The Approaching Curve
Roadside
Survive



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user ratings (2399)
Chart.
4.1
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
August 29th 2006


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah this review isn't needed blah blah blah.

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
August 29th 2006


16089 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

The only songs I still listen to on this album are the final 3 and occasionally Prayer of the Refugee. It's just too consistent in my book, if that makes sense, without ever really getting that good.

Intransit
August 29th 2006


2797 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like this album quite a bit. Doesnt have anything on RPM, but I think Drones is one of the best songs they've ever written. Its got that nifty bass driven groove in it. I also think Bricks is easily the worst song on there, so go figure.

Good review, although I dont think another review was necessary.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
August 29th 2006


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

lu, I think I know what you mean with the consistency. For the most part, the album is just a bunch of great but somewhat forgettable songs. However, there are some that really stand out in my opinion, and I guess that\'s why I have a full rating point ahead on you for this.This Message Edited On 08.29.06

Two-Headed Boy
August 29th 2006


4527 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nice review. I think this is their worst work so far.

Serpento
August 29th 2006


2351 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I think this is some of their weakest stuff, yet is still by no means bad. RA just has a problem with middle songs sometimes IMO. Both this and Siren Song had its weakest stuff in the middle of the album (To Them These Streets Belong, The Good Left Undone etc.) Good review, like you said though, kind of superfluous.This Message Edited On 08.29.06

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
August 29th 2006


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't find there to be a "good section" of the album, unlike Siren Songs where the middle certainly fails. This has at least one good track in every section.

Serpento
August 29th 2006


2351 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^Exactly. I just meant that on this album there's alot of weak stuff in the middle, not the entire middle portion of the album. On this album, its more spaced out than Siren Song, easily.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
August 29th 2006


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Of the middle (5-8, let's say), I really like 6, 7, and 8. That's just me though.

BlastFunk03
August 31st 2006


83 Comments


Nice Review. Rise Against is alright but i've always liked Strike Anywhere better.

IgniteYourAvail
August 31st 2006


41 Comments


[quote=Review]They stand among the many bands taking a political viewpoint as one of the honest and true bands.[/quote]
Huh?

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
August 31st 2006


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

[quote=State of the Union]State of the union address,
Reads war torn country still a mess
The words: power, death, and distorted truth
Are read between the lines of the red, white, and blue[/quote]

Political.

RazorBladeLight
September 1st 2006


258 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

DRONES AND THE GOOD LEFT UNDONE OWN!!!

Pazz
September 3rd 2006


6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I bought this album just the other day. I had it downloaded it and my favourite song was The Approaching Curve. I have enjoyed every album they have released to date.

Storm In A Teacup
September 3rd 2006


13149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

The talking on there is orgasmic, amirite?

Pazz
September 3rd 2006


6 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh yeah. Didn't we talk on MSN about it being orgasmic?

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
September 3rd 2006


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Worth Dying For is amazing.

Storm In A Teacup
September 3rd 2006


13149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Like a billion years ago, but yes.
I really like Roadside now on this as well. It was at first the only song I didn't like. I may have to up the rating.

FlawedPerfection
Emeritus
September 3rd 2006


2806 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It is pretty awesome.

Oddsen
January 31st 2007


1127 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really great review. I didn't know they were all vegans. What hippies :lol:




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