Released 4 July 2006
Genres Melodic hardcore punk rock
Singles Ready to Fall, Prayer of the Refugee, The Good Left Undone

  1. Chamber the Cartridge
  2. Injection
  3. Ready to Fall
  4. Bricks
  5. Under the Knife
  6. Prayer of the Refugee
  7. Drones
  8. The Approaching Curve
  9. Worth Dying For
  10. Behind Closed Doors
  11. Roadside
  12. The Good Left Undone
  13. Survive

Chamber the Cartridge

Chamber the Cartridge immediately sets the artistic tone that persists throughout The Sufferer and the Witness. The song begins with some radio chatter, as Brandon Barnes plays this militant drum fill that gets faster as the introduction goes on. After a moment, you can hear a robotic voice announce "this is Noyes." The intro uses a sample from the Noyes station Chicago train line; not only a nod to their roots as a Chicago-based band, but a tongue-in-cheek self awareness that they are quite literally making noise.

The first verses are spoken incredibly quickly. Which is, honestly, a little unfortunate given the amazing imagery that Tim McIlrath uses.

Down beyond these city streets through gutters filled with black debris
In alleys void of any light where nameless things live out of sight
Down through the scrapers of the sky past neon words glowing all night
Echoes my name between each car, "Are you happy where you are?"

He manages to make these lyrics come alive, like a camera is panning around this Gotham-esque city. He could've called them "neon signs," but instead he says "neon words glowing all night." He could've said "sky scraper," but instead he says "scraper of the sky." Which may sound like an immature and childish change, but I think it enhances this section a lot. At a first hearing, you don't really understand all of what he's saying. Unless you physically read the lyrics, he's just speaking too fast and aggresssive to understand it. That small change adds an air of mysticism to itself.

Injection

Injection blends together the themes of politics and personal strife into a wonderful concoction of desperation. The equivalent of watching someone trapped in a tank of water try and claw their way out.

The chorus is so fast-paced, and by the end Tim McIlrath is pleading to the listener:

Give me the drug, keep me alive
Give me what's left of my life
Don't let me go
Pull this plug, let me breath
On my own I'm finally free
Don't let me go

Ready to Fall

Ready to Fall, the first single and third overall track of the album, is so fucking catchy it's crazy. A soft riff begins and, after the first two measures, breaks out into the main part of the song. The first verse plays out as a conversation between two people, going something like this:

"Hold on slow down again from the top now, and tell me everything."

"I know I've been gone for what seems like forever, but I'm here now waiting. To convince you that I'm not a ghost or a stranger, but closer than you think."


She said, "just go on to what you pretend is your life, but please don't die on me!"

The pre-chorus and chorus tackles the narrators willingness to die, with lines like:

Wings won't take me
Heights don't faze me
So take a step
But don't look down
Take a step

Hinting that he's afraid to follow through, and other lines like:

I found a shoulder to lean on
An infallible reason to live all by itself
I took one last look from the heights that I once loved
And then I ran like hell

Indicating that he is scared to follow through.

Bricks

Under the Knife

Prayer of the Refugee

Drones

The Approaching Curve

Worth Dying For

Behind Closed Doors

Roadside

The Good Left Undone

Survive