Review Summary: Despite containing some of Audioslave's finer moments, Revelations is ultimately a letdown, falling victim to poor songwriting and bland songs.
There is no denying that Supergroups often turn out being lame, recycled, and uninteresting. Several recycled rockstars either trying to relive their glory days or make a quick buck. Although it is a sad fact to face, it is almost always the truth. The sound is never original, and usually comes off sounding like a watered down and more uninteresting version of the combined bands. Despite this aforementioned knowledge of Supergroups, I would be lying if I said that I was not ecstatic for Audioslave
when they dropped their first CD. Comprised of two of the best most unique bands from the 90s, featuring the limitless vocals of Chris Cornell and guitar Wizardry of Tom Morello, they seemed destined for success and phenomenal music. And while their debut didn’t exactly do anything original, it did produce an incredibly solid CD containing great riffs, vocals, and some fabulous songs. Cornell sounded just as good as he did on Euphoria Morning
, and Morello whipped out a whole new selection of guitar tricks that he had never touched on in the Rage Against the Machine
days. Their second album, Out of Exile
was a bit of a letdown, however had some standout tracks and the inclusion of a few ripping guitar solos. Entering 2006, Audioslave
had the hype, credit, and talent to produce a CD that could not only perfect their formula but allow creative expansion on their sound; and to give credit to Audioslave
, they definitely brought some new influences to the table. Unfortunately, the new Audioslave
sound wasn’t necessarily a step in the right direction. Enter Revelations
Tom Morello described the new Audioslave
sound as “Led Zeppelin meets Earth Wind and Fire”. Fans were promised the same sledgehammer riffs and warped guitar solos, but now with a much more steady and funky groove. Although it is hard for any band to effectively combine heavy riffs with dancing vibes, Morello and the boys seemed up to the challenge. Sadly, the band fails to effectively incorporate a disco vibe into their hard rock. The sound and style constantly shifts with every song, however not in a good way. Instead of coming across as diverse, Revelations
feels inconsistent. It has almost no flow as an album, and is merely a collection of very different songs. Audioslave
tries all throughout the album to go and try new styles of music, they bring in Jazz time signatures and basslines on songs like Broken City
and funky sleazy grooves on Jewel of the Summertime
but they are simply unable to incorporate new sounds into their formula. The only songs where they actually excel are tracks which recycle the same formula they used on their last CD, relying solely on Morello’s riffs or Cornell’s soaring vocals. Even with moments of instrumental proficiency, the songwriting is nowhere up to par with the member’s previous works.
The instrumentation on Revelations
is more or less a letdown. It was not until this album that I realized that Tom Morello has been playing more or less the same riff since Audioslave
dropped their debut. With the new release, he at least begins to come into his own as Audioslave’s
guitarist, really focusing on chords for the first time in his career, however he is a mere shadow of the player he once was. While the new rhythm approach is different, it leaves a lot to be desired and rarely catches the listener’s attention. The guitar solos are also a major letdown on Revelations
. There was a time when Tom Morello actually used a whammy pedal and killswitch to contribute to the music, using strange noises and DJ scratching to create a demented soundscape. The effort on the guitar solos is minimal, just strange noises that add nothing to the song except for a couple measures of annoyance. On Out of Exile
he displayed his skills as a technical and proficient shredder, and there are a few traditional guitar solos on the CD, however they suffer from serious lack of melody. Take One and the Same
for example. It starts off promising, however quickly descends into a mindless serious of quick fretboard runs. Tom Morello isn’t the only one who has begun to deteriorate as a player, Chris Cornell’s voice is nowhere near the level that it once was. It is sad to see such an amazing voice begin to dwindle, however he is nowhere near Euphoria Morning
. The lyrics are nothing special, his material isn’t nearly as interesting as early Soundarden
or political poet Zach De La Rocha’s. The only exception to the declining instrumentation in Audioslave
is Brad Wilks and Tim Crommerford. Wilks holds his own as a solid drummer, nothing special, but still fairly interesting. Crommerford more or less steps up his game on Revelations
, making up for some of the guitar’s slack.
Although most of the tracks on Revelations
are rehashed and clichéd, there are some exceptions. The opening track of the same name begins with a beautiful clean intro, and stays average throughout the rest. Until We Fall
is one of the stronger ballads Audioslave has written, nowhere near Like a Stone
or I Am the Highway
, however still enjoyable and emotional. Finally, the closing track Moth
is admittedly some of the best material Audioslave has ever written. The whole song is explosive, from Wilk’s energetic fills, some of Morello’s heaviest riffing, and Cornell’s soaring vocals in the chorus. Also, not all the guitar work is bland and Morello is still quite a few levels above the average guitarist, but I have come to expect better from the man responsible for Bulls on Parade
and Know Your Enemy
. Cornell is also still one of the best vocalists in the current hard rock scene, despite the fact that he is not up to his former level.
fails to live up to anything that Audioslave has done in the past. Their selftitled debut was excellent and Out of Exile
still had a share of really strong material, but Revelations
takes several steps backwards. It is almost ironic that the title is about revelations when the CD is nothing more than recycled material. The several new influences that they try to incorporate completely backfire on the band and make the record sound inconsistent and patchy. Just listen to the atrocity that is The Original Fire
is not an awful CD, but it is far from great or even mediocre, falling victim to poor rushed songwriting. For me, it has probably been the biggest letdown of 2006, especially after all the hype surrounding it; definitely avoid this one.