After releasing six full-length albums since 2001, punk rockers Rise Against are one of the most consistent groups around, with their post-modern political style that’s always a constant yet never too forced, an album of b-sides and rarities seems a fitting release. As such, behold ‘Long Forgotten Songs: B-Sides & Covers 2000-2013’.
In all honesty, when you’ve listened all the way through the seventy eight minutes of this album, it’s pretty difficult to get much of a grasp on what to think of it as a complete entity, as there’s simply so much and it’d be tedious to go track-by-track. What has to be said is that if you’re not a huge fan of this band, then the twenty six songs on here probably won’t do much to change your mind because this is more Rise Against than most of their records.
You couldn’t really get a better opening track than ‘Historia Calamitatum’. It’s energetic, catchy and is quite an effective musical summation of Rise Against and their general sound. This is modern punk rock at its best. The second track, ‘Death Blossoms’, which is incidentally a fantastic song title, is where we hear the heavier aspects of this band’s spectrum. These heavier vocal moments where screams overlay Tim Mcllrath‘s usual melodic cleans add variety to a usually straight forward group and that’s a welcome addition, ‘Dirt And Roses’ is another example of how these vocal arrangements work fantastically well.
You find yourself trawling through this album looking for songs that are a disappointment, and it’s awfully difficult because it’s a genuinely solid and enjoyable album that has a real level of simplicity to it, which is a totally positive thing. The band also include some covers of bands like Minor Threat and Black Flag, which are obviously not quite there in terms of topping the originals, but that isn’t the point. The band evidently love the punk genre and are paying homage to their heroes. The only thing with spreading these covers throughout the album is that it stops the album as a whole having much of a sense of direction, but if you’re bothered about that on a b-sides and covers album then it’s time to call the whole thing off.
The covers on the record end up being the weakest material really and that’s really because you end up enjoying songs like ‘Gethsemane’ and the band’s original songs along with the intensity that comes with those more. The worst moment is where they cover Nirvana‘s classic ‘Sliver’, and that’s really a cardinal sin, but apart from that particular unwanted epithet the entire album is a thing of real joy and the band fully make up for it with a fantastic live cover of Bruce Springsteen‘s ‘The Ghost Of Tom Joad’.
Overall, ‘Long Forgotten Songs’ is a cracking album, one which the band prove that they have a serious wealth of material, and in turn showing that Rise Against may possibly be the biggest and brightest modern punk rock band in the world right now.
Written by Greg Spencer