Sound — 9
The latest release by Rise Against is a big winner in my book. Although this is another step away from their original fast-paced, aggressive sound that was The Unraveling, it still is a musical powerhouse. When I first listened to it, I was surprised to say the least. The sound is more mainstream and mellow than old-school Rise Against. However, they sure as hell can write music. Even though the sound has been taken down some notches in terms of pure energy and speed (the drums aren't as break-neck fast as they used to be), quite possibly to appeal to more people, the band's liberal messages stay the same. The first track "Collapse (Post-Amerika)" is the pure Rise Against sound that is most reminiscent of Siren Song and Sufferer and the Witness. There's one song named "The Dirt Whispered," which to me was the most unusual thing to hear Rise Against play. The song, to me at least, sounded like Blink-182 grown up. Tim sings a lot better than Mark and Tom, especially Tom. Tim's voice is most impressive on "Kotov Syndrome" and "The Strength to Go On." My three favorite tracks on this album come in a row, with "Entertainment,"(the circus 'bum-DUN-DUN, bum-DUN-DUN' was a stroke of genius) "Hero of War,"(showcases McIlrath's ability to shove the song concept in your face lyrically, because he doesn't beat around the bush) and my favortie track on the whole album, and one of my new favorite Risa Against songs, "Savior." "Savior" to me is a perfect song, that captures the sound of the new album perfectly. If you are wondering if you should get this album or not, listen to "Savior" on YouTube or something, and make your decision from there. I don't think you'll be disappointed with that song. I'm giving this category a 9 because I would give Siren Song a 10, and I personally believe that's their best album to date. This is a damn good album.
Lyrics — 10
Tim McIlrath's lyrics are always great. He has a way with words that in several songs today cannot be matched. He can make a song so poetic it's make your head spin, while writing a song with a message so straightforward that it just punches you in the face. "Hero of War" is a great example of his lyrical ability. Even though it's a simple story, the emotion that it brings out is rarely found in other music today. "Entertainment" is practically a bitch-slap to Hollywood. Also, Tim's voice is one of the best I've ever heard. He has a very unique voice that fits the music perfectly, to the point that if he left, there would be no more Rise Against. Even if they got a new singer, it wouldn't be the same. Unless they do what Journey did and find some guy who actually sounds just like him, but what are the odds for that happening to another band?
Overall Impression — 9
I believe that this is Rise Against's 2nd best album. It's tied right now with Sufferer and the Witness. The main thing to take away from this review is that the sound on this album is slightly more alternative than previous, and there are more 'slower' songs, in the sense of the drums. This album still has a lot of energy behind it, just not the "bounce off the walls" energy that was on the first two albums, and on a few songs from Siren Song. I love how Tim's voice seems to have gotten stronger as time has gone on, and the new guitarist fits the bill for Rise Against. The one thing that I don't like about the album is it shows the decline of power and energy from album to album. I don't think they'll ever become a pop-punk band, but I can see in a few more years where their sound has completely departed from The Unraveling. If it were stolen, and my hard drive was wiped, hell yeah I would buy this agsin. The album was a great listen from start to finish, and I recommend it for the hardcore fans of the band, and also those who just heard "Re-Education (Through Labor)" to pick it up.