Chicago's Rise Against is anything but a single-minded musical outfit. An astounding fusion of unhinged power, ear-grasping melodies, stimulating lyrics and the ability to reach audiences in both underground and mainstream circles, they have redefined the rules. We're a band that's done everything from hardcore songs to pop songs to acoustic ballads that get played on the radio,' says vocalist/guitarist Tim McIlrath. The Sufferer & The Witness, their 4th album, continues to build upon the solid punk foundation - it is a striking collection, with Rise Against using elements from spoken word, expanded balladry, and simply plodding forward with a faster, harder, louder ethic.
Rise Against returns with a rollicking wallop of an album that further establishes the Chicago-based outfit as one of the great bright hopes for the future of alienation rock. Cut from the same savvy cloth as Bad Religion and Black Flag, Rise Against rocks hard during the martial opus opener, "Chamber The Cartridge," the melodic "Injection," which asks us to imagine that Iron Maiden came from sunny California and not some dreary part of London, and "Ready To Fall," which may be one of the greatest anthems of adolescent estrangement since The Who's "Baba O'Riley." The band also isn't afraid of a good hook and scintillating melody ("Under The Knife"), exploring complex emotions ("Roadside"), or unleashing a bit of old-school breakneck fury sans
apology ("Brick"). All of these things demonstrate that Rise Against is drawing from a broader palette than many of its counterparts, one of the reasons it will (indeed, already has) rise above the masses of sound-alike acts vying for the attention of the MySpace generation. --Jedd Beaudoin