SSOTCC is Rise Against’s most recent album (released August 2004) and third record to date. The Chicago hardcore quartet’s sound has undergone a change for this album, a bit like an ugly, disgusting moth that has gone into a cocoon and emerged a beautiful butterfly. A beautiful butterfly that doesn’t fuck around in delivering killer chords and roaring choruses.
Rise Against’s first 2 albums had a pretty devout following, but I never cared much for them. They sound much different, probably because they were released on Fat Wreck Chords with a different approach to their production (not a diss towards Fat Wreck, I just prefer this new sound). You know Rage Against the Machine? The same guy produced this album, and his name is GGGarth. I have no clue why he spells it with 3 Gs, but whatever. He’s a vet when it comes to making a good band sound incredible, and he made RA sound fuckin’ awesome. Fuckin’ awesome. I don’t know how else to put it to you. Their first 2 albums just don’t sound as good.
Their second album, Revolutions Per Minute, is probably the pick of the litter if you ask a die-hard fan of either the band or hardcore because to be honest, SSOTCC isn’t produced with the punk MO of doing it yourself, even if the end result seems a bit rough around the edges. A lot of people would probably say that RA has sold out and is trying to attract some fair-weather punkers to their following with their new polished sound.
You know what? Fuck that. I never understood the idea of holding back on improving something just for the sake of tradition. It’s kinda like mailing regular letters instead of using email. Who does that shit? Anyway, I don’t and I don’t see why you would.
The best track is #12, ‘Rumors of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated’. I’ve listened to it about 4,000 times and every time it rocks. Tim McIlrath is probably one of the best vocalists in all of rock right now, and his gritty, throat-shredding sound is reminiscent of the raw power of Brian Johnson of AC/DC or Axl Rose. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not a bona fide rock god like them, but he delivers it raw and loud. Other good tracks are ‘The First Drop’, ‘Life Less Frightening’, ‘Blood to Bleed’, ‘Tip the Scales’, and ‘Give It All’. He’s got this sort of desperation in his voice as he sings about social issues of our day, and even though there’s no nonsense to the power riffing and scorching vocals, a lot of the songs give me the chills and make me get kind of emotional.
To be honest, some of the songs seem like filler, and there are a few that I skip every time. Also, if you’re really serious about the punk philosophy, you might not like this album since it’s got million-dollar production and really shows it.
Anyway, enough rambling. If you want a sick album that will pump you up and make you want to pound hard liquor and drive your car through a plate glass window, get this album. And if you actually do go out and drive drunk, it’s your own damn fault if you get hurt. Don’t try to sue PGA or anything, because it’s your life, and you have to be responsible for your own actions. We at PGA do not condone driving drunk or destroying property with your vehicle. However, we do condone chugging hard booze and buying this album, as well as the re-released first album coming out in late August if you dig what you hear on this one. And RA will also be at Wakestock in Toronto, playing on Saturday, August 12th, 2005. [ END ]
01. State of the Union
02. First Drop
03. Life Less Frightening
04. Paper Wings
05. Blood to Bleed
06. To Them These Streets Belong
07. Tip the Scales
08. Anywhere But Here
09. Give it All
10. Dancing for Rain
11. Swing Life Away
12. Rumors of My Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated
Run Time: 40:54