Sound — 8
This is a band who have simply improved with every album. "Rise" shows a progression in their musical direction, with even more rhythmic guitars, the introduction of some interesting solos (check out the "Freakshow" solo), and more use of female backing vocals, on which both Jen and Korey perform outstandingly. The use of keyboards also fits in well with the rhythm of the guitars, and gives some depth to the melody of the songs, setting Skillet's 6th studio effort apart from other bands and their other releases.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics cover a wide range of topics, but are on similar terms to the other albums. There is an overall dark tone to the album, with songs such as "Everything Goes Black" and "Hard to Find" being almost ballad like. The vocal quality is outstanding, John Cooper has really outdone himself on this one, with a range of vocals from gritty rough growls on "Rise" to soft crooning on the slower songs. They are suitably anthemic, giving the album a very uplifting and inspiring feel. I would particularly recommend a listen "What I Believe" and the title track, "Rise."
Overall Impression — 9
I personally love the album, and would probably buy all of my friends copies if I had a spare 200, but not having that I'm limiting myself to buying the CD and a spare copy. This is definitely an album I will replay well past its time. I doubted they could improve from Awake, but they have. Skillet show a huge amount of promise in every aspect, I will certainly be following them more closely from now on. The high point of the album for me was "Freakshow," as there is a smooth flowing feel with the rolling bassline and gritty guitars, mixed with the vocals. The low point for me, as a mainly hard rock and power metal listener is the lack of solos in the songs, but they have improved on this already! Definitely a buy, and at least have a listen to the album!