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Rise Against - Siren Song of the Counter Culture

Review: Jack Foley

CHICAGO punk band, Rise Against, take anger to the next level.

Their website,, illustrates how their views set the band apart from other, more pop-orientated acts and includes a counter on the home page adding up how much the war in Iraq has cost the US.

They tend to say it like they think it and their views are most forthright.

Hence, their third album, Siren Song of the Counter Culture, is a full-on assault against all that they consider wrong with the world (and America).

If anything, it's anti-pop, taking the sentiments echoed in Green Day's excellent new album, American Idiot, to a more extreme nature.

The tone is set from the outset, with opening track, State of the Union, a ferocious rant against Bush's America, which kicks off with the lyric 'if we're the flagship of peace and prosperity, we're taking on water and about to fucking sink'.

In Life Less Frightening, lead singer, Tim McIlrath angrily laments 'I don't ask for much, truth be told I'd settle for a life less frightening'.

The sentiment is hard to deny, although the manner in which it is relayed is sure to alienate all but the most stringent punk fans.

This is the type of album that grabs you by the scruff of the neck, shakes you about a lot, and never once lets up on the fury which drives it.

Each track comes at you fast and furious, with the guitars of McIlrath and Chris Chasse creating a wall of sound that is unrelenting.

As such, it becomes a little tiring and tracks blend into each other.

Notable moments include the slightly slower Blood to Bleed, an angst-ridden power ballad about a lost love, the anthemic Anywhere But Here (which seems tailor-made to get the crowd going), and the acoustically-driven Swing Life Away, which stands head and shoulders as the best track on the album (displaying the band's ability to make a similarly strong point in tender fashion).

If only there were more moments such as these to provide a break from the fury, Siren Song may have made a stronger impression.

As it is, it remains an intelligently-written and damning indictment of the modern world that is told in a fashion that's sure to turn off more listeners than it appeals to.


Track listing:
1. State Of The Union
2. The First Drop
3. Life Less Frightening
4. Paper Wings
5. Blood To Bleed
6. To Them These Streets Belong
7. Tip The Scales
8. Anywhere But Here
9. Give It All
10. Dancing For Rain
11. Swing Life Away
12. Rumors Of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated
13. Obstructed View

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