Rise Against
Revolutions Per Minute


3.5
great

Review

by Davey Boy STAFF
March 30th, 2009 | 99 replies | 7,906 views


Release Date: 2003 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Seemingly taking their craft more seriously, this may be Rise Against’s least accessible album. Yet, it is still a solid, even & cohesive listen that played a huge role in shaping the band’s future.

One gets the feeling that the eventual quality of their debut full-length release ‘The Unraveling’ may have even surprised Rise Against themselves. On their follow-up, titled ‘Revolutions Per Minute’, it seems as if the Chicago quartet has taken their craft a whole lot more seriously. They have realized that they are good enough for people to listen to and are going to do their best to successfully convey a handful of messages to them.

This is evident with the very first words we hear on opener ‘Black Masks and Gasoline’, as lead vocalist Tim McIlrath lectures “Simply because you can breathe doesn’t mean you are alive or that you really live”. It is the kind of message we have learnt to become accustomed to from Rise Against, both before and after this recording. However, it was on this album where the band kick-started their aggressive socio-political commentary. No place is this more startling than on the strikingly titled ‘Blood Red, White & Blue’, which contains a bridge of “Would God bless a murder of the innocents? Would God bless a war based on pride? Would God bless a money-hungry government? Noooo”!

In truth, this may in fact be Rise Against’s least accessible album. There is less reliance on melody than on any of their other releases, and as much as it is even and consistent, ‘Revolutions Per Minute’ lacks the standout tracks to rival their very best. As solid as the song is, lead single and live favorite ‘Heaven Knows’ doesn’t exactly define accessibility and seems to lack that certain something to separate it from the pack. ‘Like The Angel’, which was released as the 2nd single is better, with its more conventional structure and effective guitar solo.

Album highlight status however, would have to go to track 8 ‘Broken English’. With its uplifting motivational refrain of “so push us down and we get right back up again” taking center stage, this cut switches tempo constantly and uses a nice guitar-based lead-in to its catchy chorus where a gang chant accentuates the words “right back up again” to maximum effect. Elsewhere, tracks range from the relatively catchy chorus reliant (‘Voices Off Camera’, ‘Last Chance Blueprint’ & ‘Amber Changing’), to 90 second thrashers (‘Dead Ringer’ & ‘To The Core’) and the strange cover of Journey’s 1980 hit ‘Any Way You Want It’, which brings some familiarity for casual listeners as the closing hidden track.

Another aspect which Rise Against have apparently taken more seriously here is their improved musicianship, since the songs predominantly seem more tightly crafted around Brandon Barnes’ passionately frenetic drumming than previously. Credit should be given to new lead guitarist Todd Mohney since his thick riffs often impressively add weight to tracks (see ‘Halfway There’ & ‘Torches’), while the occasional solo (‘Like The Angel’ & ‘Any Way You Want It’) is also welcome. However, the MVP of this album is clearly bassist Joe Principe, who pretty much lays down sensational bass lines on every track… So much so, that it is often difficult not to completely concentrate on his work at the expense of the rest of the band!

As with many 2nd releases, ‘Revolutions Per Minute’ is an album that Rise Against have used to find their feet and hone their craft. While it is not altogether successful as an isolated grouping of songs, the band should be given credit for how even and consistent the album still is, and for the fact that it is a solid and cohesive listen. Most importantly though, ‘Revolutions Per Minute’ has clearly played a huge role in shaping what was to come afterwards from this fantastic band. And for that, we should be very thankful.

Recommended Tracks: Broken English, Like The Angel, Last Chance Blueprint & Black Masks and Gasoline.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2009



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm certain many will take issue with my opinion, but I actually think this is Rise Against's least effective album! It's still very good though.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2009



17195 Comments


to me, this is their best. such a great album.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2009



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm willing to listen (ie: read) a quick reasoning for that opinion Adam.

ninjuice
March 30th 2009



6759 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

If you took away 2-3 of the best tracks on Sufferer and made the vocal performances the same, these would be about equal. In fact, this would probably be the winner by a hair. They just get almost everything right here, and it's just a bit more consistent than Siren Song.
Why no mention of Heaven Knows? That's probably the best song here, and it would have been a better opener.

Digging: Robin Skouteris - The King of ArtPOP

Athom
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2009



17195 Comments


there are 3 main reasons. the first being sentimental as this was the album that got me into Rise
Against. the second is that i believe that this is the perfect mixture of their punk roots and
their friendlier future output. And the third is that i am a very lyric-centric music listener and,
while their other albums are all for the most part up to par lyrically, to me Revolutions Per
Minute has just the right blend of politics, us against the world attitude, and memorable as hell
vocal hooks to make this stand out above the rest. I like this and Siren Song the most. A year
being stuck listening to radio completely killed Sufferer... for me.

On a separate note, have you ever heard their song "Generation Lost"? It was on a FatWreck sampler
from like 2003 and imo is one of their best songs.This Message Edited On 03.30.09

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2009



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think my main concern with this album is the lack of truly exceptional songs. 'Broken English' & 'Like The Angel' are really the only 2 that would have me coming back to individual cuts.

And Steve, there is a sentence regarding 'Heaven Knows' in the 3rd paragraph. I pretty much think that song is over-rated. I like the final minute of it, but to me it just plods along up until then.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2009



17195 Comments


I can sort of understand that 'cos the second half doesn't stand out as much, but the first 7 songs are damn near flawless.

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2009



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good reasoning Adam. I obviously can't argue with the sentimental aspect as that is personal. I can see your point on the mixture of tracks, but I disagree a little since I don't believe there are too many "memorable as hell vocal hooks" here. In fact, I'd say 'The Unraveling' had more, although its much of a muchness. Fair call on the lyrics, although I tend to prefer their more personally relatable stuff.

And yes, I've heard that song called 'Generation Lost' and really like it. In fact, it may be the best of their songs that haven't made it to an album proper. I wouldn't say it is one of their best songs full stop though.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2009



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

gay

Athom
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2009



17195 Comments


yeah, i dig me some political ranting. This is reminding me that I still have to check out Appeal to Reason (just pressed play now).

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2009



17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

appeal to reason sux

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2009



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just another point on an earlier comment of yours Adam: "A year being stuck listening to radio completely killed Sufferer... for me."

Man, you should be so lucky that your radio stations even know who Rise Against are, as none do down under!

Hi Chan.

ninjuice
March 30th 2009



6759 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is reminding me that I still have to check out Appeal to Reason (just pressed play now).

Hope you like it. You'll be, what, the 10th person who does?


Athom
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2009



17195 Comments


they got insanely popular on the both of the modern rock stations in Los Angeles to the point where
ready to Fall, Prayer for the Refugee, and The Good Left Undone were played on endless repeat every
hour. I'm sure given a long enough break, I'll like it again.

@steve: ReEducation, The Dirt Whispered, and Hero Of War are pretty shitty but the rest is good. It
just takes' itself way too seriously.This Message Edited On 03.30.09This Message Edited On 03.30.09

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2009



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Wow. I almost can't believe that. The modern rock stations down here think Nickelback and The All-American Rejects are "rock". And the only thing verging on screaming (which 'Ready To Fall' has) that they will play is AC/DC (just to reach their legal quota of "local" product).

Don't worry Steve, we know where it's at with 'Appeal To Reason'.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2009



17195 Comments


you'd probably dig LA radio. http://www.kroq-data.com/music/mostplayed.asp

DaveyBoy
Staff Reviewer
March 30th 2009



20855 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I think you might be right Adam... Just seeing Anberlin & Rise Against on their top 11 most played songs makes me hate Australian radio even more.

Fugue
March 30th 2009



7352 Comments


he modern rock stations down here think Nickelback and The All-American Rejects are "rock".


Yeah but 'mainstream' rock radio sux balls.

This is a good review Davey although I must admit I'm surprised at the rating. With all I have heard of this album, it is up there with Sufferer in being one of the better Rise Against releases, I was expecting a 4/4.5 from yourself.

upagainstthewall
March 30th 2009



838 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Man, you should be so lucky that your radio stations even know who Rise Against are, as none do down under!


at leat channel 10 "sports tonight" does.. ive heard prayer of the refugee and ready to fall a few times now on it

Willie
Moderator
March 30th 2009



15875 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Nice review. I finally got The Sufferer and the Witness on your suggestion. I haven't listened to it yet, though.

Digging: Emperor - In The Nightside Eclipse - 20th Year Anniversary



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