The video for "Ready to Fall," the lead single from Rise Against's latest salvo, is like a punk-rock version of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, except with fewer shots of melting icebergs and a lot more images of doomed wildlife: dead deer, dead dolphins, baby chicks riding a conveyor belt to calamity. At the clip's conclusion, vocalist Tim McIlrath faces the camera and intones: "We've got one planet one chance." Hard to argue with that sentiment. Still, The Sufferer & the Witness would be more noteworthy if these Chicagoans had ventured into unfamiliar areas. Soundwise, the disc, which was recorded at Fort Collins' Blasting Room under the supervision of Descendents/All skin-pounder Bill Stevenson, kicks like a bull wearing a sandpaper thong. But with only a few exceptions, the melodies and arrangements stubbornly conform to the same punk template that's been in use for decades. Likewise, couplets such as "We look for reason/But come up empty-handed," from "Brick," seldom transcend sloganeering. When it comes to this CD, predictability is the real inconvenient truth.
Get the Music Newsletter
Find out about upcoming concerts and special offers happening in the South Florida music scene.