There is a saying that goes, “If it’s too loud, you’re too old.” The new album from Rise Against titled Siren Song of the Counter Culture could make anyone feel like a geezer. From the very first song the album bursts with energy and pure punk aggression. In typical punk fashion, the songs are fast-paced and beg to be moshed to. Ho-hum right? That sounds like all the rest of that punk stuff. Wrong. What sets this band apart is the unmistakable raspy voice of lead singer Tim McIlrath, which is part old-chain-smoking-granny and part Gregg Graffin. It pierces through the power chords with an infectious sound, more contagious than the clap. Another highly appealing aspect is Rise Against’s poetically angry lyrics. A demand for personal freedom is prevalent in such lines as “these machines fuel on the tears of broken lives and dying dreams/ throwing wrenches in the gears our lives will not be lived in vain.” Particularly interesting is the acoustic “Swing Life Away.” It’s a refreshing song in a sea of thrashing bass lines and rumbling drumbeats, and allows McIlrath the chance to truly show off his vocal ability. Any punk fan should be very satisfied by Rise Against’s latest outing, and thanks to excellent PR by label Fat Wreck Chords they will soon be a household name. So, buy it, steal it or burn it, but make sure you listen to it because Rise Against has a little something for everyone.
[Harrison Coltun wins the award for eager beaver of the issue. Congratulations Harrison!]