Rage Against the Machine
Rage Against the Machine


4.5
superb

Review

by Jordan Smith USER (16 Reviews)
January 8th, 2007 | 37 replies


Release Date: 1992 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Unique, angry, and powerful; truly one of the essential albums from the 90s and an absolute classic to this day.

Rage Against the Machine
I can still remember it like it was yesterday: I was ten years old and driving down the heavily wooded backroads of Lake Sebago, Maine. It was the summer of ’96, and my music taste was just beginning to branch out in all the right directions. A couple months before this late night drive, if anyone had inquired to me above my favorite bands I would have likely listed Ricky Martin’s The Cup of Life as my all time favorite song, with Smashmouth’s Walking On the Sun as a close second. Alas, these days would soon come to an end, as I had begun to discover the joys of heavier bands like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. However that night as I drove back from a lobster bake with my dear Uncle Chris, my life would be radically altered. We had been talking about music, and being the ten year old that I was I didn’t really have any basis to argue music tastes on. I put all my faith in my Uncle to expose me to all the music out there. So, as we made our departure home, he slipped a disc out of his CD case and put it into the car stereo. All was silent as I gazed upon the road ahead of me, and slowly the soft and delicate muted intro of Bombtrack met my ears. It just got louder and louder, more tense and gripping than it had been seconds before. I could feel myself being pulled, my first real taste of music, my first real taste of what would become my passion. And out of nowhere, the song exploded into the first real guitar riff that I had ever noticed. Music ceased to be one collective noise, and rather began to come together as parts of a machine. I didn’t know what a riff was, I didn’t know what a hook was, and I sure as Hell didn’t know what a Digitech Whammy Pedal was; but I did know one thing: This was hands down, the most intense, passionate, and captivating music I had ever heard. My uncle smiled at me, obviously seeing my wonderment and excitement. And then, all my questions were answered, this was Rage Against the Machine.

So how can I possibly describe an album that changed so much of my life? The collective noise that Brad Wilks, Tim Crommerford, Tom Morello, and Zach de la Rocha created is a testament to everything I have come to love about music, everything that it represents. Instrumental brilliance, warped guitar soundscapes, and lyrics that sound like the bastard child of Allen Ginsberg and Friedrich Nietzsche. Rage Against the Machine’s self titled debut was one of the most incredible albums to come out of the 90s, unique and original beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. It was controversial, heavy, and abrasive; yet it could almost be danced to. I will try my best not to come across like a fanboy as I write this, and judge it with an open mind, just as I did seven years ago.

Rage Against the Machine’s sound can be described in so many different ways. It is the sound of a bomb going off in a crowded market, the sound of machine guns firing on innocent bystanders, and it is the screams of protesters as tear gas explodes onto a rally. It is the sound of the oppressed; a torn and tattered flag being waved for those who cannot speak. Their sound is gritty and urban, it perfectly captures the mood of poverty stricken life. Morello’s roaring guitars and Zach’s spitfire vocals conjure up images of smoking sewers, burning buildings, and grime covered streets. It is not necessarily pretty, but it is honest.

Of course, if a band is to conjure up imagery this shocking they must have one Hell of a rhythm section, and Rage more than delivers. Brad Wilks is not the most technical drummer, but he has some great beats and syncs in perfectly with Crommerford’s Bass. Tim’s bass playing is incredibly diverse, playing with equal Hardcore Punk influence(Bombtrack) as well as funk slapping(Take The Power Back). Tom Morello’s guitar is truly the icing on the cake. A modern wizard, he reinvented the term “virtuoso” and shook the foundation of just what guitar playing was. Much like the Salvador Dali of guitar, Morello combined a vast array of effects to produce warped DJ rhythms in place of traditional guitar solos. Every example of this revolutionary technique is genius, how he rhythmically kills the sound on his guitar to replicate Hip Hop scratching. The solos range from a Terminator X backdrop, to a blaring siren, to a free-jazz traditional guitar solo. Originality, thy name is Tom Morello. There are tones on this album that are high enough implode a dog and low enough to shake floorboards. Of course, the guitar experimentation is not the only high point of the band’s instrumentation. When he’s not tearing open some new sonic velocity, he is slamming out heavy riffs with the rest of the band. Rage’s self titled debut was a time before Morello had exhausted nearly every riff in his collection, and almost every single riff on here is extremely original and catchy. Songs like Killing In the Name and Bullet In The Head sport some of the best riffs of the decade, they instantly hook the listener.

Finally, to top off the band’s sound, there is the one and only Zach de la Rocha. A Brimstone and Fire rapper who unleashes his political incantations as if they were commandments from some kind of Cyanide God himself. Radical, cutting, and hypnotic are all words that come to mind when trying to describe his delivery, but it really must be heard for oneself. It’s biggest strength is that it compliments the instrumentation perfectly. The rapping does not have the typical “gangsta” rap sound, his verses explode like grenades; mixed with harsh screams and merciless accusations. His very voice just bleeds with revolutionary angst, as if he is sentencing The Oppressors to death for their crimes against society. Lyrically, this CD is also an absolute gem. Wake Up, which deals with the Kennedy assassination as well as other various conspiracies, is one of the best examples of the shining lyrical content. “Networks at work, keeping people calm, ya know they murdered X, and try to blame it on Islam, they turned the power to the have-nots, and then came the shot”.

Rage Against the Machine’s self titled debut has few flaws, it is near perfect. Every single song is an experience, and none should be missed. The only things that could really turn people off to this album are the political connotations. The views expressed can be somewhat extreme, and I don’t agree with many of them. Although it has become a rather popular trend these days to attack the American Government, Rage does it rather sincerely and actually comes across as knowing what they are talking about(something that many bands today could take a hint from). For recommended tracks, Killing In the Name is arguably the essential Rage track. With creative riffs, a howling solo, and the thundering “*** you I don’t do what you tell me” outro, it is a perfect representation of everything that the band stands for.

This CD is one that changed my life. Had I never heard it, I don’t know where I would be now. Any fan of music could love this, as long as they approach it with an open mind. It is undeniably unique, and one of the only albums to ever successfully combine hip hop and heavy metal. It is many things: creative, political, and just phenomenally executed. But above all, it is passionate. Every detail of this album just screams with pride, with conviction, and with Rage.
”Read my writing on the wall, no-one’s here to catch me when I fall, if ignorance is bliss, then knock the smile off my face. If we don’t take action now, we settle for nothing later, settle for nothing now, and we’ll settle for nothing later.”



Recent reviews by this author
Comadre A Wolf TicketKimya Dawson Remember That I Love You
Snowblood Being And BecomingGirl Talk Night Ripper
Justin King and the Apologies Justin King and the ApologiesBy The End Of Tonight/Tera Melos Complex Full of Phantoms
user ratings (3559)
Chart.
4.4
superb
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
JordanS
January 8th 2007


319 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

One of my favorites ever, hope this didn't come acrosse as being too fanboyish.

trustxdialect
January 8th 2007


1502 Comments


This might be one of my favorite reviews. Brilliant.

I've never been one to get into these guys, but maybe I'm listening to the wrong stuff. Or not listening at all.

pos'd

JumpTheF**kUp
January 8th 2007


2713 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It is the sound of a bomb going off in a crowded market, the sound of machine guns firing on innocent bystanders, and it is the screams of protesters as tear gas explodes onto a rally. It is the sound of the oppressed; a torn and tattered flag being waved for those who cannot speak.
Sweeeet paragraph there. Excellent review.

trustxdialect
January 8th 2007


1502 Comments


^^^

I read this review and thought of Children of Men, and that made me want to listen to this CD more. Not only was that film fantastic but it only makes this CD seem more so.

hummer
January 9th 2007


228 Comments


^^^

I thought the exact same thing

Great movie, better album

Meatplow
January 9th 2007


5524 Comments


I am impressed with that review, you put your position on the album across more perfectly then anyone else i have ever seen do before. Well argued, and while i tried to point flaws in it i just couldn't do it.

I've listened to this countless times, and like many i am familiar with just about all of the Rage catalogue. That said i've never conciously considered them one of my favourite bands because of the american politics (i am australian), but if i think about the influence this group has had on my musical tastes i'd have to admit they are probably high on the list.

Otisbum
January 9th 2007


1912 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I got goosebumps reading the first paragraph. :p

Awesome review, classic album.

teamsleep698
January 9th 2007


423 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

great, great review. even better album.

Stoo
January 9th 2007


34 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review.

My favourite album of alltime. Absolutely FLAWLESS.

There are no "Okay songs"... They are all fantastic. This album changed MY life.This Message Edited On 01.09.07

Seek and Destroy
January 9th 2007


62 Comments


I've got this album, but I've never really got into these guys, although I do think it's a pretty good album.

rockstar18
January 9th 2007


741 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Classic! Even tho im startin to like TBOLA more.

Hatshepsut
January 9th 2007


1997 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Rah.
Good review and such.

Wish
January 9th 2007


262 Comments


Brilliant review, brilliant album.
When I first heard Killing In The Name, it was like nothing I had heard before.

Thor
January 9th 2007


10202 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Awesome review for the best album of the 1990s, no contest. This album changed my life and my outlook on music as well.

I've probably heard this album a thousand times, and know what? It never gets old.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
January 9th 2007


17944 Comments


This review is great.

Thor
January 9th 2007


10202 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Europe aint my rope to swing fron
Can't learn a thing from it!
Yet we hang from it!

That's so sickkkkkkkThis Message Edited On 01.09.07

Hatshepsut
January 9th 2007


1997 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

When I first heard Killing In The Name, it was like nothing I had heard before.

Killing in the Name is the worst song on the album imo.

Thor
January 9th 2007


10202 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I think that Settle for Nothing is the worst, it just stands out way too much, and not in that good of a way. It's not that bad, though. Lyrically, it's great, but the music is lacking from all of the other songs on the album.

Killing in the Name is great. You just can't beat that energy.

Hatshepsut
January 9th 2007


1997 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Well yeah, Settle for Nothing is great lyrically. But Killing in the Name drags soooooo much.
Energy is the #1 thing on the album. Zach just repeats himself waaaay too much.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
January 9th 2007


17944 Comments


zach de la rocha sucks at life sorry guys



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy