Rise Against

Long Forgotten Songs: B-Sides & Covers (2000–2013)

Written by: PP on 16/11/2013 01:07:51

Seminal melodic hardcore / punk rock band Rise Against released their debut album "The Unraveling" in 2001. They went on to release five more albums in the next decade, which is why the band finally decided to release a compilation album with some of their rarer tracks for those fans that might not already own everything they've ever released. While compilations and greatest hits albums typically are equated with selling out, packing a whopping 26 tracks on an album suggests that Rise Against genuinely wanted to put together a package for their completionist fans. Titled "Long Forgotten Songs" after the song on "Appeal To Reason", the record compiles together B-sides, covers, and bonus tracks between their inception in 2000 and 2012.

Since the album essentially comprises of three types of songs - original tracks, alternate versions, and covers - I'm going to divide this review into three parts as well. Let's start with the original versions, many of them which are found as bonus tracks on the country/region specific releases of especially newer albums. Let's put it this way: you can definitely hear why they were excluded from the main sections of their respective albums. While decent,featuring the quintessential sharp scream of Tim McIlrath and their polished, but well distorted guitar sound, these songs are no match to the main sections of their respective albums. Where Alkaline Trio's b-sides are always at least as good and usually even better than their album material, Rise Against's attempts at the same fall regrettably short. Though considering the high quality output the band has delivered throughout the years, that still means they are pretty good, yet it's difficult to escape the creeping vibe of blandness that songs like "Death Blossoms" bring. Rise Against on autopilot? This is how it sounds like, with the exception of the less-than-stellar "This Is Noise" EP material and songs from the Fat Wreck 7".

The alternate versions of tracks are either demo versions, purposefully modified versions of great songs ("Give It All" for "Rock Against Bush"), or acoustics, none of which really draw your attention to be honest, so I'll skip those. Where the album really gets interesting, though, is on the covers department. Instead of faithfully covering bands like Face To Face ("Blind"), Bob Dylan ("Ballad Of Hollis Brown"), Sick Of It All ("Built To Last"), Minor Threat ("Minor Threat"), Black Flag ("Nervous Breakdown"), Lifetime ("Boys No Good") among others on the disc, these classic songs receive a Rise Against treatment and are modified to fit their melodic hardcore mould. The classic hardcore songs from Black Flag and Minor Threat obviously fit in well, but it's interesting to hear them in Rise Against format either way. "Boys No Good" and "Making Christmas" sound very different from their original versions while preserving the key melody, so these go down as my picks for the best covers on this record.

Overall though you can say that "Long Forgotten Songs" is a hit-and-miss type of record. For every classic you might not have heard, there are a number of tracks that make it clear why they weren't part of the original track listings for their respective records. They're merely decent, Rise Against on autopilot type of material that are nice to have, but ones that can't carry the album alone by themselves. So let's classify this as a collector's item, curious onlookers should check out their regular discography instead. Start with "The Sufferer & The Witness".

Download: Elective Amnesia, Making Christmas, Boys No Good
For the fans of: Rise Against only
Listen: Facebook

Release date 10.09.2013

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