Sound — 9
Rise Against's album Revolutions Per Minute has their trademark sound of hardcore punk mixed with melodic vocals and catchy guitar hooks. In other words, Rise Against's sound could be referred to as "polished hardcore." Vocalist Tim McIlrath shows a lot of range here, going from melodic yearning on "Heaven Knows" to all out surefire screaming on the album's track following it, "Dead Ringer." A lot of the riffs on the album are just power chords or short interludes, but they all sound great and suite the lyrics and singing that accompanies them. There are a few solos on the album, and they are all masterful. As for the general mixing, engineering, and production of the album, it sounds raw enough to where Rise Against are right there in your room, and polished enough to where it doesn't sound exactly like the old school punk that the band is heavily influenced by, such as Black Flag.
Lyrics — 9
Tim McIlrath's lyrics in general on Revolutions Per Minute deal with one of two things per song: either social/political issues or personal relkationships. They're very well-written in most cases, the best being the punk rock love ballad "Like The Angel," the angry "Blood-Red, White And Blue" (title is self-explanitory), and the melancholy single "Heaven Knows." "Last Chance Blueprint" is based upon the film American Beauty and even features clips of dialogue from it. The social commentary and political angst is intelligent and seems genuine, not as if Rise Against are jumping on the bandwagon. Calls for revolution, cries of emotional pain, and a love song that isn't overly lovey here and there are the styles of lyricism that dominate the album.
Overall Impression — 9
The lyric that might describe the mood of Revolutions Per Minute is found on its opening track, "Black Masks And Gasoline." "I have an american dream/but it involves black masks and gasoline/one day I'll turn these thoughts into screams/at a world that turned its back on me." Well, Rise Against succeeds in turning their thoughts into some of the most aggressive music out there, but it has a heart. Tim McIlrath, unlike many hardcore bands of earlier days, is not just strictly angry at the world, as demonstrated in the love song "Amber Changing." Revolutions Per Minute ultimately is a very rewarding experience, and is a relatively unique relook at the genre of hardcore punk music.