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Rise Against - The Sufferer and the Witness Review

by Matthew Hastie

A few years ago I was introduced to a band called Rise Against, and I was immediately blown away by their blend of punk attitude and energy with the melody and angst from hardcore. Their last album spawned the single "Swing Life Away" which became a great anthem for the disillusioned teens around the world. When I heard that CD, I figured Rise Against had reached their creative peak and would try to expand their sound and fail miserably with their next album. Thankfully I was wrong, and The Sufferer and the Witness is a blaze of glory.

Rise Against is one of those bands that could get away with never changing their sound. Each album is as fresh and different as the last, thus there are one or two "transition" songs that will remind you of what you have heard, but it's not a recreation. The album starts out with a spoken line saying "This is noise," and then blasts straight into the album opener "Chamber the Cartridge". The high energy and screaming guitars and vocals are a staple for the whole record and even on slow tracks such as "Roadside", the following tracks never seem to loose their energy. In fact it seems that the rage in fact grows during the ballads and is then released with greater ferocity during the other songs.

Every time I put this CD on in the car I always end up giving "Chamber the Cartridge", "Drones", and "Behind Closed Doors" multiple listens before moving on to the next track. The aforementioned "Roadside" seems to pick up the somber honesty of "Swing Life Away", however the song is far deeper and very stark compared to its predecessor. Even with great stand out tracks, the album together works so well in its entirety and deserves to be heard from that way. Even with a few familiar songs, you don't feel like you've been ripped off by being charged for the same CD. If you're new to Rise Against, maybe pick up their previous disc "Siren Song of the Counter Culture" before checking out The Sufferer and the Witness. Die hard fans need only spin the disc to be hooked.

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Rise Against - The Sufferer and the Witness

Label:Geffen Records (USA)

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