The Sufferer and the Witness
· Parental Advisory explicit ringtones.
Simultaneously boasting the best cover art and worst album title of the year thus far, The Sufferer and the Witness reinforces the "hardcore goes mainstream" sound Rise Against put forth on 2004s Siren Song of the Counter Culture. Mustering all of their anti-establishment might into one unbridled explosion of cathartic energy, the Chicago five-piece lambastes their audience with 13 brash and bitter tunes including: "Chamber the Cartridge," "Injection" and "Under the Knife."
Couched in macho guitar riffs and fierce percussion, vocalist Tim McIlraths acidic intonations often do more to obscure their politically charged lyrics than accentuate them (pause here to ponder the longevity of a singer so disposed to such over-the-top, muscular, throat-ripping roars).
Returning to their old school form with the ballistic intensity of "Bricks," they just as quickly lose focus with questionable efforts such as "Worth Dying For" and the oh-so-weary "Prayer of the Refugee." As much as they try to keep the mosh-worthy tracks comin this album has an apologetic feel to it, as if they are pleading with their fans to follow them from their rowdy heydays with Fat Wreck Chords to their new big label home on Geffen. But really, who needs street cred when your latest single is already a best-selling ringtone?