Rise Against - Siren Song Of The Counter Culture (Cover Artwork)

Rise Against

Siren Song Of The Counter Culture (2004)


Amidst speculation concerning their signing to a major and the leaving of guitarist Todd a lot was on the line with this album. Possibly one of the most commented on stories in Punknews.org history, Rise Against had explained their move from Fat Wreck Chords to Dreamworks. Could this spell disaster for the band that had become a hardcore-punk staple? Then with the news of their guitarist leaving the band and being replaced with Reach The Sky's Chris Chase, the rumor mill was set ablaze with accusation of their sound changing, but no one really knew for sure.

How would all of these changes change Rise Against, or would they not change at all? To put it bluntly, Siren Song Of The Counter Culture was shaping up to be a pivotal album for Rise Against.

As much as I could, I tried to go into this album with an open mind. But after hearing "State of the Union" I was getting apprehensive. I went in expecting the worst. Upon first listen I gave it a five out of ten. The first three songs didn't do much for me; the album seemed to be riding in third gear until track four ("Paper Wings"). When this song came on, I knew it was the Rise Against I had been looking for. After kicking it into fifth gear they kept up the energy and power you've come to associate with Rise Against. Tim's voice has never sounded better and the few extra screams from Chase add a little flavor, especially in "To Them These Streets Belong." After that, the band takes us through "Blood To Bleed," and "Tip The Scales" (which in this reviewers humble opinion should be the single if there is to be one). The lyrics range from finding out where you came from and finding where you're going to revolution in the form of protests.

Tracks 9 and 11 we've heard before, the previously released "Give it All" and "Swing Life Away." Good songs, certainly, but I could've done with two more new songs in their place. Sandwiched between these two songs however is "Dancing For Rain" one of the gems of the record. With an acoustic intro and breakdown you can see where the extra recording budget went. After that, we come to the shining moment of this record. The brilliant "Rumors Of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated" could be (in my opinion) one of the best songs ever recorded. If there ever were a Siren Song for Rise Against, it would have to be this song. It shows despair but with hope on the horizon with lyrics like:

"when we build these dreams on sand,
how they all sift through our hands,
and this might be our only chance.
let's take this one day at a time,
I'll hold your hand if you hold mine,
the time that we kill keeps us alive.

It's the jaw dropping track this record needed to propel it forward.

Like I said before, after my first listen I had given it a five out of ten. After repeated listens however, it moved up the scale. At this point (after several consecutive listens in many different locales) I will stand firmly at a seven out of ten. I really think Rise Against can do better than this. The album isn't horrible, but we have all seen their true potential. The Unraveling was great and Revolutions Per Minute was better. Siren Songs, however, did not live up to its true potential.