Rise Against – ‘The Ghost Note Symphonies Vol 1’

By William Scott

Acoustic records are a product that can divide, lessen or expand a band’s following, popularity and public opinion. For some it is a risky move, for others an inevitability to keep themselves relevant and get another release onto the market to appease record labels. But this series of haunting symphonies from Rise Against’s back catalogue has more integrity than that, along with a lot more heart.

Not an alien concept to the band, with fan favourites ‘Swing Life Away’ and ‘Hero Of War’ keeping themselves on the band’s setlists and in fan’s ears since their release. This collection of tracks still carries the same ghostly aspect that Mcilrath’s voice echoes. With messages so relevant within beautifully orchestrated and brutally honest arrangements, there is another side to Rise Against’s songwriting that can be picked up on.

Undoubtedly one of their most popular singles, ‘Saviour’, receives a makeover that shows off the band’s Folk songwriting skills while keeping the same spirit and personality that the original brought with it. Elsewhere on this volume, the band have delved deep into their own back catalogue to make this record a much more interesting release than what a lot of other bands could do. It would’ve been very easy for them to pick their most popular tracks, give them the simple “full acoustic treatment” and release them into the world.

But Rise Against have done more than that. What Rise Against have done is give their fans songs that they have picked, their own favourites and arranged them in such a way that breathes freshness into their discography. It can be very easy for a band to sound tired with this kind of release but Rise Against have kept true to themselves and given us something that won’t just gather dust on the shelf. This is a reimagining, demonstrating the band’s ability to diversify and keep things varied throughout their career. If this is but Vol 1 of a series, then Vol 2 has a lot to live up to.

WILLIAM SCOTT

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