Long Forgotten Songs: B-Sides & Cover 2000-2013
A truly magnificent mega-album was released this week by Chicago hard-rock veterans Rise Against. Thirteen turbulent years in the making, it showcases the band’s lesser known tracks including B-sides from each of their five albums and a number of covers. In typical Rise Against fashion, the compilation comes across as another genre-trotting achievement, displaying the band’s passion for grunge, hard-core punk, classic rock, acoustic and even the occasional injection of comedy.
Deep, fond foundations in the punk scene of the North East come across almost immediately with hard-core tracks that all die-hard fans of the band will recognise – ‘Grammatizator’, ‘Voice of Dissent’, ‘Join the Ranks’ and ‘Built to Last’ among them. What’s more, with grateful reverence towards the band’s major musical influences, tracks like ‘Nervous Breakdown’ contribute serious nods to punk greats Black Flag and Minor Threat (the latter being frontman Tim McIlrath’s torch-bearing predecessors in the drug-free Straight Edge movement).
Also included are homages to all-time legends Springsteen and Dylan; and even a tongue-in-cheek cover of Journey’s ‘Anyway You Want It’ as well as a unique take on ‘Making Christmas’, a central track of the Tim Burton animation Nightmare Before Christmas. Not all is perfect in Rise Against paradise, however. The penultimate cover of Nirvana’s ‘Sliver’ is lacklustre. It’s dullness lets down the passion of the original version. But thankfully this minor slip up is overshadowed by the general gravity of this twenty-six-track amalgamative work.
An excellent live version of Springsteen’s ‘Ghost of Tom Joad’ ends the playlist. It features members of MC5, Gaslight Anthem and eternally furious demigods Rage Against The Machine to display not just the respect for Rise Against that exists in that circle, but the beauty of cross-genre collaboration – something that typifies the Rise Against ethic.With this album acting as a sort of CV for the band thus far, it’s comforting to know that a group as high profile as Rise Against are proud and completely unafraid to publish the heaviest, most brutal songs of their career for a second time, knowing that they might scare away some of their fans more attracted to their mainstream rock image. Whatever their preferred Rise era or style, there’s something in here for all the true fans.