Album Review: Rise Against – The Ghost Note Symphony Vol 1

If you’re a sucker for acoustic versions of punk and alt-rock like we are, this album is going to take a special place in your heart. 

Illinois punks Rise Against have released a hauntingly beautiful record with Ghost Note Symphonies Vol 1. Taken from the band’s back catalogue, the record features fan favorites that have a lot of heart.

This collection of tracks breathes new life into the band’s discography and will draw you in with Mcilrath’s raspy vocals that takes these songs to a whole new level. The stripped back arrangements take the songs back to where they started from and bare their very soul to the listener. The messages Rise Against have been sharing remain just as relevant, only this time they are wrapped in impressive arrangements.

Opening track The Violence, which previously topped the US charts and can be found on the band’s latest album Wolves. Only this time, the heavy drums are replaced with eerie strings.

Probably the most dividing song on the record is Faint Resemblance. Some argue that the ukulele doesn’t fit with the rest of the album. But if you listen close and put away the picture of Rise Against as a political punk rock band, you will see and hear what an intriguing piece of music Faint Resemblance is. Taken from their debut album The Unraveling, this song still has its punk rock roots.

House on Fire, off the band’s last record Wolves, has a folk-y feel to it. The acoustic guitar riffs along with the tambourine make it extremely catchy. The initial teaser video for the upcoming album, House On Fire is essentially what Ghost Note Symphonies is all about.

“But we don’t need miracles to tumble from the sky, to part the seas around us, turn water into wine — cause we are the miracles. We happen all the time. We’re not scared of what surrounds us, not waiting for a sign. ‘Cause we are the miracles.” Mcilrath sings in sixth track Miracle, also taken from the band’s latest album. It beautifully showcases that you can take politically-charged punk and take away its heavy sound and you’re still left with the same intense message, and bold poetry.

Saviour, one of the band’s most popular singles, is another track on the album that has a very folk-y feel to it while never losing its punk spirit.

The rearranged rendition of Voice Off Camera, off of the band’s 2003 sophomore album Revolutions Per Minute, closes off the album with a very mellow vocals and soft piano sounds in the background to carry the melody.

As much as you strip these songs back they never lose their original poetry, message or punk spirit, which only highlights the band’s incredible songwriting talent.