Year 4, Day 23: Rise Against – The Sufferer & the Witness

“The Sufferer & the Witness” is packed with shout-along tracks that are memorable and powerful.


Year 4, Day 23: Rise Against – The Sufferer & the Witness


Track List

  1. Chamber the Cartridge
  2. Injection
  3. Ready to Fall
  4. Bricks
  5. Under the Knife
  6. Prayer of the Refugee
  7. Drones
  8. The Approaching Curve
  9. Worth Dying For
  10. Behind Closed Doors
  11. Roadside
  12. The Good Left Undone
  13. Survive

About the Album

The Sufferer & the Witness is the fourth studio album from punk band Rise Against. The album was recorded from January to April 2006 and released on July 4th 2006 through Geffen Records. The album is certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America and the album peaked at number ten on the Billboard 200.

Thoughts on the Album

This week starts out a lot like last week did: loud. I’m always slightly weirded out by how much my taste in music has changed. But I digress. This week starts out with Rise Against‘s second major label release, The Sufferer & the Witness. The band has been a staple of the punk community since the early 2000s thanks to their releases through Fat Wreck Chords and the Vans Warped Tour. The album features, in my (humble) opinion some of the best songs that Rise Against has ever recorded.

While their style of melodic hardcore in this album is polished, buffed out, and shined to make it more appealing/accessible to mainstream listeners, their sincerity and edge remained intact. I always assert that a band/artist buffing out their sound and polishing it up is never a band thing. With The Sufferer & the Witness Rise Against  does this excellent, creating an album that appeals to both newer fans as well as old fans.

The first track, Chamber the Cartridge starts off with a marching drum line that leads with a guitar riff that is menacing. The track’s chorus is blistering and shout along. When combined with the second track, Injection the opening for album is a rampaging bull. Then we arrive at the album’s first single, Ready to Fall. The track is driven by the excellent bass line and frontman Tim McIlrath’s raw and biting vocals. Ready to Fall  is an emphatic and phenomenal track. It’s bridge is frighteningly intense that may be out of place if it was any other song… but it works out perfectly as it leads to an insanely catchy chorus. The chorus of Ready to Fall is one that will make you want to shout along to Tim McIlrath’s voice.

Second single, Prayer of the Refugee is almost Gold Standard for tracks from Rise Against. The track successfully builds up slower verses before it kicks you in the gut with a bombastic chorus that soars. The lyrics of the track are poignant and excellent and extremely effective.

Don’t hold me up now, I can stand my own ground. I don’t need your help now. You will let me down…

As Prayer of the Refugee ends, it leads directly into DronesDrones builds off of Prayer of the Refugee and Ready to Fall, utilities building slower verses before an intense bridge that kicks into overdrive with a bombastic and catchy chorus.


Oddly enough, this album was one that gave Rise Against not only their first Billboard 200 top ten hit, but their first album with a “Parental Advisory” label on it. It earned the label thanks to the final track, SurviveRise Against made an album that was polished yet raw and rough and uncompromising their beliefs and values. It’s an album that is firmly roots in punk roots that’ll appeal to both the mainstream and hardcore fan alike.

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