From the opening notes of the first track ("Bombtrack"), to the bone chilling lines of the final song ("Freedom"), this was an album that got in your face and pummeled you with its message. Rage Against The Machine has something to say here, and they are demanding that you listen. With singer Zach De La Rocha delivering a guttural "Ugh!" that hits you square in the face on just about every track, and lyrics that play out as the soundtrack to a revolution, Rage became a force musically, as well as politically. For a band that envisioned themselves more as political activists, with being musicians taking on a secondary role, these are legendary musical performances. Guitarist Tom Morello, a Harvard grad, lays down one of the most innovative and stylish performances in Rock history. His grinding, bleeping, squealing, screaming guitar parts were something that had never been done in the Hard Rock genre before. Sounding like some sort of erratic malfunctioning machine, he assembled all of the aforementioned sounds into a steel spine for his band to stand tall and firm.
This is one of the greatest guitar performances ever recorded.
While Morello's axe is ranting, Rage's rhythm
section is pounding out a foundation of power funk. Drummer Brad Wilk and
bassist Timmy C. lay the groundwork for the powerful core that is the essence of
Rage Against The Machine. This is the nucleus of their sound. Every other
element revolves around the perfect base that is built by these two phenomenal
players. With Morello's guitar style being one that is more of an accent to the
overall sound, it opens the door for the funky thumping of this amazing rhythm
section to become the main focus. Listen to the groove they throw down on
"Bombtrack", "Take The Power Back" and "Wake Up."
This is one of the greatest rhythm section performances ever recorded.
And then there's the voice. It's a furious, pissed off Zach De La Rocha that is swinging the revolutionary bat here, and he's a real slugger. His vocals are revolutionary, plain and simple. Screaming out his social and political views on each and every song, he gets right in your face. The aggression and intensity is unparalleled. Ranting like the forgotten ghetto son of urban America, we hear themes of racism, police brutality, and international war. Much like Bob Marley was a revolutionary voice for his generation and its' injustices, De La Rocha screams his opinions and pleas for rebellion.
This is one of the most intense, and inspired, vocal performances ever recorded.
Now we come to the purpose of this record, the
lyrics. I would love to list a few for you here, but there is just not enough
room. The power of the instrumentation is magnified and amplified by this
powerful lyrical content. This was a band on a mission. A powerful voice of
anger, freedom, justice, racism, equality........you name it. They were making
their statement here, without being "preachy". If it's one thing I hate, it's
"preachy". They're not asking that you believe what they believe, they're
getting right in your face and telling you they are going to change
things, with or without your help! A true revolutionary recording.
Let me leave you with a few lyric "one-liners" that set the rebellious mood throughout the record:
– "Anger is a gift"
– "A jail cell is freedom from the pain in my home"
– "Just victims of the in-house drive-by, They say jump, you say how high"
– "Something must be done about vengeance, a badge and a gun"
– "Fist in the air in the land of hypocrisy"
– "Freedom.......freedom.......yea right."
This is one of the greatest records ever recorded.