Every well known band has an album that comes out and becomes the comparison album. Itís the record to which their future work is evaluated and matched up to. In 2003, Rise Against
released Revolutions Per Minute
on Fat Records. The uncontested power of this record earned them the title of possibly the best modern day punk band. This being the bandís sophomore record it was not the beginning for them; just the beginning of Rise Against
as we know them today as. If their debut lacked a bit of identity, this reveals the bandís individuality through 12 superbly crafted songs and an outstanding recreation.
Identity is shown in a tremendous amount throughout the album. All of the songs contain a purpose, all have meaning. There is the perfect balance between similarity and distinctiveness within the tracks. The listener is always aware that this is indeed Rise Against
yet none of the tracks blend together. This is courtesy of frontman Tim McIlrath. Simply put he knows how to write meaningful lyrics that carry a strong message. His vocals are filled with rage in some cases, yet other times a passive feel as he always creates the appropriate mood. Regardless of the situation, the intended atmosphere is established with his voice fitting the music flawlessly. Musically the band is quite the treat as their members are rock solid. Bassist Joe Principe constructs his lines perfectly whether he is layering atop of the guitars or playing solely. Joe does a fantastic job as bass plays a big part in the record as it is heard throughout. Lead guitarist (at the time) Todd Mohney puts down some very tasteful leads, proving that it is possible to be a punk musician and know your way around the fret board. Brandon Barnes handles the drums, keeping the recordís generally energetic feel at a constant peak. His beats might not be the most technical, but he does everything he needs to in holding things tightly together. All this is put together successfully, resulting in a truly extraordinary record.
As mentioned, there is a fine line of variety found in the record. Some tracks are more of a straightforward punk approach, such as the opener Black Masks and Gasoline
. It keeps a fast and energetic feel throughout most of the song. Joe lays down some great bass lines harmonizing over guitars during parts of the second verse. There is even a bit of a bass break before the final chorus. The lyrics are very well written and the song has a great flow to it. More of the clear-cut punk comes out during Dead Ringer
. Plenty of bands try to make songs like this, just the power chord driven tune with speedy paced drums and they often turn out boring or generic; this is far from the case here. Timís fantastic voice and splendid lyrics keep things interesting.
ď The place I call home isn't there anymore
With boards on the windows and locks on the door
So pick up the pieces that never once fit
Let this be the end of it."
Voices off Camera
opens with a great riff, but soon becomes a very power chord driven song. It might seem like this could become tiresome, but the band puts enough variety into their progressions and Timís brilliance continually shines through each song.
ďCan you hear the desperate cries that are calling out your name?
Twisting your arms, holding out their hands and tugging at your sleeve
Do you feel this underlying sense of urgency or are you as blind as me?
Clearly lyrics are a big part in the band, as they are extremely well thought out and written, carry a strong meaning, and just flow perfectly with each song. Last Chance Blueprint
shows a state of discontent towards a personal point in life. Not the most unique subject, yet Timís detailed lyricsí full of imagery bring out tons of individuality.
ďBut this blueprint's faded grey
and here it seems like just yesterday
when we mapped out the details of our great escape
But still these roads all beckon me
to uncover their mystery
but I fall like dead autumn leaves and let the jet stream carry me."
The song itself has quite a catchy feel to it amongst its frantic filled mood. Clearly Rise Against
is capable of creating entertaining yet straightforward punk songs, but they are not afraid to take a walk down the melodic trail. When their strong punk edge is mixed in with some melodic instrumentals, a completely different feel arises. The single Heaven Knows
is a prime example of this. Since its release, the band says this song has not left their live set list and with good reason. A very brisk intro opens the song as the first verse and chorus keeps its energy intact. The chorus is quite catchy and the single guitar progression separating the chorus and second verse is very well written and fitting for the song. However, the bridge of this song really is the cherry on the sundae if you will. So many bands try for this it seems; the lone bass line with delayed guitar coming in, and than vocals. Needless to say it does not have a good outcome most of the time, but where others fail, Rise Against
succeeds. The dramatic and emotional feel is so rarely captured and created as magnificently as it is here. It provides for one of the best outros on the record as it caps off a truly amazing song.
A bass intro and a guitar solo are both found in Like the Angel
. The tempo is a bit slower than some of the record, but it is still far from leisurely. Flow is once again found and variety shown by a truly wonderful solo. It is placed perfectly in the song and fits superbly. Timís voice matches the music perfectly, despite its difference from the rest of the record. He by no means is a one trick pony and proves this as he brings out some brutal screams during Blood Red, White and Blue
. The music has quite an intense and angry state to it. Octave chords during the chorus and Timís vocals work extremely well together. A hint of backing vocals come in, revealing another one of the bandís strong points. They are able to harmonize and layer vocals very well together and do so during the chorus. The bridge of the song holds arguably the most intense feel on the record as it leads into a solo. The guitar lead is quite impressive and ends the song on a high note; literally.
contains some great leads, lyrics, and vocals. Backing vocals are present during some moments in the verse and chorus, working great both times. The intro riff is some perfect for the song, as it is a nice mid-tempo lead over a fast rhythm section. The chants in the pre chorus add an extra sense of depth to the song as do Timís lyrics during the chorus.
Let the blind lead the blind
Cause it's eye for an eye
In your so called life
Are you out there? Are you listening?
Is there something we're still missing?
The first time through, Timís lone voice is heard over one ringing guitar, soft bass and a tad of high hat. His powerful voice dominates the chorus before it is harmonized and things pick up. There is another lead at about 2:25 which is nothing out of hand speed wise, but captures the sought after emotion and fits the song flawlessly. Once again, a very outstanding song is created.
Well if these highlights have not made it clear enough, Rise Against
writes brilliant and memorable songs. They also seem to be in a constant supply on their sophomore effort Revolutions Per Minute
despite what approach they take. As a result of this, there seems to be something for everyone here; the punk fans will love the fast pace and energy created by the record but it goes some much further than that at times. The melodic leads, wonderful and meaningful lyrics, beautiful vocals, and just overall solid, memorable songs will suck in music fans from a vast assortment of genres. With this record, Rise Against
found their true identity that might have lacked from their previous effort. Everything they attempted to do here succeeds with flying colors as they made a name for themselves with their superb creation known as Revolutions Per Minute
. If you have a fire cracker, you have to light the fuse before it explodes; it is safe to say that this was Rise Against
ís light and that they are still sky high.
Final Rating: 4.5/5