Review Summary: Rage Against The Machine's finest efforts.
The predicament that humankind finds itself in, one of self entrapment and blind faith, has been exemplified by controversial people and their expressions for thousands of years. Rage Against The Machine strive to open eyes to see the dreadful corruption that exists among the most powerful of our race. On that day when one influential man peered down at his hand and realized that he could use it to buckle knees and command minds, humans took the first step towards corruption. He taught us to stare at the sky and hope for a savior so we wouldn’t see misery and death coming right at us. He wants the same thing we do, to evolve and become better, to become stronger and faster and more intelligent. However his means of attaining these superior qualities are grossly selfish and deadly. He makes happy people angry, he makes the sane insane and he destroys what we hold dear: peace, unity and self-content. He raised us to hate what we are and long for what we aren’t, all the while laughing as he gets sucked off atop a mountain of cash, property and power. War tactics replaced intelligent negotiation, fire evaporated our water and we have dehydrated ever since. We are totally unable to understand the importance of each other on a progressive scale, are blinded by emotion and desire, and continue to shoot ourselves in the foot this way. There is a solution, thankfully.
Revolution exists in the mind of every human. The leaking furnace of modern society, without revolution, would be in a constant conflict with itself to justify its crimes. Life as we know it depends on evolution and to evolve something or someone must embrace the winds of change, or get blown away entirely. A sickening reality poisons this age, one that favors individuality over equality, ruthlessness over compassion, and money over matter. The corporation’s endless greed and disregard for humane guidelines doesn’t only corrupt leaders across the planet, but its conflict with its own environment leaks down into the melting pot of the global population and pits comrade against comrade. A band like Rage Against The Machine come into the picture once those altering winds begin stirring. Their music is a signal to us that something is exceedingly flawed in our infrastructure, and without immediate action this flaw will drop heavily upon our heads. We’ll never see it coming, never hear it or smell it or taste it, but the most silent is the most deadly. Rage Against The Machine strive to expose that which cannot be detected by typical means. To realize the problem is to climb to a new plateau of thinking, one that is high and rugged, but worth reaching. The average man or woman sneer at the revolutionary as if they were some deluded product of insanity. Their homes, their jobs, and their sweet-tooth for currency is too much to sacrifice, and they will vehemently deny the existence of a devilish presence in mankind’s frontline. However true or false this notion may be, one must understand the necessity of every school of thought – for the interdependence of ideal on other ideals is evident and effective. In other words, if you despise it, burn this album when you finish listening, but remember to listen first.
You may know Rage Against The Machine for their infectious hits Guerrilla Radio or Killing In The Name. If you are educated about them any further than that you’ll know they aren’t your typical rock group. A collective of left-wing idealists, Rage have given themselves a name that fits their fiery discontent perfectly. Especially on this record, “The Battle Of Los Angeles”, you will understand their hatred for exploitative Totalitarians and the company they keep. The cancer of capitalistic power has unintentionally hinted at the hypothesis of its bloodied blueprints and Rage Against The Machine are spy photographers, using imagery and sound to warn others.
As you may have already guessed, “The Battle Of Los Angeles” is heavy in anti-corporate themes that rake muck as well as Upton Sinclair ever did. An example of the rebellious lyricism to be found on this record:
Stroll through the shanties and the cities remains/Same bodies buried hungry but with different last names/The vulture robbin’ everything, leavin’ nothing but chains/Pick a point on the globe, yes the picture’s the same
The album will venture into storytelling with its song “Maria”, a fictional but highly representational figure of the exploited person, who travels to the land that is the source of her country’s despair and will be seen and heard to “tear away at the mask”, or the face of greed and torture. Adding to this theme of the battered soul, “Born As Ghosts” will tell of the path our impressionable children of Earth are lead down by an evil leader, ultimately to a destination that cares not for sanctity of life but for profitable suffering. “Born Of A Broken Man” is the story of one of these surviving children born as Ghosts, who questions the idols he was taught to trust and the purpose of his existence. “Like autumn leaves, his sense fell from him, an empty glass of himself, shattered somewhere within”. To represent the pain of the public as a whole Rage composed the epic "Ashes In The Fall", arguably one of the album's finest moments. It is the result of an ultimately apocalyptic society, searching but never finding sympathy from those who proposed it. The people rally in opposition, creating a new sound as opposed to the old mistake. The armed, revolting individual tears through oppression on “Guerrilla Radio”, targeting an omnipresent corruption, freeing Mumia Abu Jamal on his way to salvation from a fate of lies.
This record was constructed in the name of revolution and its necessity. The heavily distorted guitars, earth-shaking drumming, and the fiery voice of a deprived man sonically nurture the lost, hungry and cold as would a nurturing society. The raw energy of this record is apparent throughout. However confused or unsure a loyal conformist may be about this record's message, watching them push Battle Of Los Angeles into a CD player to enjoy the thrusting rhythms of an unsatisfied beast show Rage's instrumental prowess. Hip-Hop and hard rock are a match made in paradise; I hope to one day see the rescue of humanity, and dance to “New Millennium Homes” in a literal sense.
George Orwell once wrote tales of the disguised disparity between a citizen and his Government. He used allegorical techniques to represent an Anti-Christ style power that lies through its teeth to falsely seem peaceful and wise, all the while scheming to gut society from the inside out to turn the tables in their favor. The pig in Animal Farm who exiled his predecessor so he could dictate can be easily construed as that breach of natural law amongst us. He raped his fellow animals with a mask on; business as usual continued so those faithful but unknowingly cheated would believe the necessity of him. Then he began to change things – laws altered, the stupid grew stupider, the curious grew lonely and misunderstood and unable to revive what they knew was dying. The human being depends on others, and this is a truth that will never be falsified so long as we live on this beautiful Earth. So, there will never be a politician, or a leader, or a dictator, or a conqueror that doesn’t promise us what we need and want, despite their actions afterwards. Rage Against The Machine have revealed that a promise can lead to its breaking, and the breaking of not only it but the people it was promised to. They did not say this outright, but between the lines of their stories that tell of the cost of desire, there is a picture of six billion human beings asleep in a wildfire.