Sound — 3
I had high hopes for this record before the release, Re-Education and Collapse both being amazing tracks. Then when the actual album came out I was at a loss for words. I have absolutely loved all of Rise Against's music. Every single one of their songs has been one of my favourites at one time or another. I don't know how they changed so much, whether it was new guitarist Zach Blair or just the constant pressure to write more "mainstream" songs, but this album flat out sucks. I hate to say it but the music sounds like it could be Nickelback or Hinder if they got slightly heavier. Their gritty punk yet still melodic sound is what made me fall in love with them. This CD gets rid of the punk sound and replaces it with a generic mainstream rock sound, with riffs so plain and simple they could have been written by Angus Young. Their riffs used to be aggressive, fast and complex. I can barely even listen to any of the songs besides the two I've already mentioned.
Lyrics — 5
I have to admit Tim's still got it. His voice is pure godliness, he executes every note with power and perfection. I can't get enough of his voice but thankfully I can get my fix from all of the previous albums. As others have mentioned there is an absence of screaming in these songs which I find to be a bad idea for Rise Against and further proof they're starting to play for the money. The seamless transition from beautiful melodies to screaming was one of the reasons Rise Against was so different from other recent punk bands who've tried to do the same. His lyrics have always been powerful, deep and thought-provoking and I found a serious lack of that on Appeal to Reason. It seems like he's trying too hard now instead of just letting his personal beliefs and thoughts flow into his lyrics. Some of the lyrics he's written this time around barely make any sense, trying so hard to be deep that the metaphors are lost.
Overall Impression — 4
I can see how it appeals to new fans but I can't see how anybody who's loved their previous efforts could truly like this, unless they already loved mainstream rock music as well. I tried getting into the album. I tried to like it because I love Rise Against, they're my (ex) favourite band. I owed it to them but unfortunately this album just bombed. My overall impression? I hope this album's a joke.