Rise Against is a perfect example of how you don't have to sacrifice melody to be powerful. Their hooks remain catchy despite the fact that it is played at an ear shattering level. This ability to combine their serious and sugary sides allows the band to maintain their underground credibility while still appealing to the masses. Coolness and record sales! Good for them!
Also they are a band who is interested in taking a stand in regards to the inequalities and inadequacies they see in the world around them. They are not just interested in head banging, but also making a difference. Going beyond the usual Bush bashing, this album's lyrics address such issues as the Iraq war, rampant consumerism in the United States and violence/protests.
Qualitywise there are definite peaks and valleys as some songs are quite a bit weaker than others, but it is still a must purchase for the band's fans and fans of hard rock in general.