Almost everyone who knows me, knows that I’m a huge Rise Against fan, so as you would expect, the announcement of a 26 song B-sides album was greeted with incredible excitement.
Although 90% of the tracks are already easily accessible to fans of the band, it’s still great to own crisp and clear copies of the songs, instead of listening whilst trying to play, badly, on Guitar Hero or amidst watching Avengers Assemble.
So what about the music? Rise Against have gone from an erratic, edgy, punk band to a band of a much more polished and clean sound across their last 2 albums. The beauty of Long Forgotten Songs is that unlike any one, standalone, album of Rise Against’s, you can hear every side of the band spanning across this album. Progressing from the rugged sounds of Built To Last and Nervous Breakdown, to the near lullaby stance of Elective Amnesia.
Speaking purely for myself, this album sealed my love for albums such as Revolutions Per Minute, The Unravelling and Siren Song Of The Counter Culture, but almost put me off listening to the likes of Endgame and Appeal To Reason. Whereas when you listen to their entire back catalogue, the gradual maturity and cleanliness slowly seeps though, admittedly making a rather large jump to Endgame, but on Long Forgotten Songs, it stands out like a sore thumb, when it jumps from Generation Lost to Historia Calamitatum for instance.
Alas, once I had finished my winging remorse over how much I sincerely adore Revolutions Per Minute compared to Endgame, I began to appreciate each and every song for what it was. To most people, myself included, they will approach this album with familiarity. There are only 4 or 5 songs that the standard Rise Against fan won’t already have, but yet that is what makes it so enjoyable. Hearing Death Blossoms sounding perfect, as opposed to the shitty Youtube copy I’ve been used to for a few years is a blessing. Little Boxes, Sliver and Nervous Breakdown, much the same.
Tim McIllrath’s unique sounding vocals lend themselves perfectly to very personalised covers; the likes of Sick Of It All, Danny Elfman, Malvina Reynolds, Minor Threat, Journey, Lifetime, Nirvana and Bruce Springsteen are all brilliantly re-constructed in various covers scattered throughout the album.
Rise Against are the one of the reasons I like the music I do today, and The Sufferer And The Witness was the soundtrack to my childhood, which is why it hurts a little bit to admit that I’m divided on this album. Crammed with classics but also all too easily-skippable tracks.