Rage Against The Machine's (RATM) debut burst onto the scene in 1992, a time when grunge was in full swing.
Guitarist Tom Morello was a big hip hop fan, while not denying his classic rock roots. This combined some really funky sounds (eg DJ Scratching on his strings) with great classic heavy riffing. His unique use of a Digitech Whammy pedal added to the band's sound.
Lead vocalist Zack De La Rocha didn't have any melodies in his vocals, instead he rapped, using dynamics and anger to fuel his unique sound. Bassist Timmy C and drummer Brad Wilk were a great, tight rhythm section and Timmy's basslines were often very funky and included slapping.
The band's debut album was a total masterpiece, with not one bad song, just totally awesome. There is also a tag line in the booklet: NO SAMPLERS, COMPUTERS OR KEYBOARDS WERE USED IN THE MAKING OF THIS RECORDING. Insane.
Bombtrack- A typical RATM song, a nice quiet little riff at the start, which is awesome. The drums come in with the slapped bass and Zack's typical "uhh!" sound. Really great riffing in the verse which follows Zack's vocals. The chorus is cool too, with one really catchy line "Burn, burn, yes you're gonna burn". 4.5/5
Killing In The Name- The band's breakthrough single, this is the definitive RATM song. The riff is great, along with Zack's rapping. There is some non typical percussion in this song as well. The guitar solo is one of Tom Morello's finest moments, with a Whammy pedal, he makes it sound like a dentist drill. An intersting fact about this song, I found it ironic anyway...At the end of the song, Zack starts yelling "F*ck you, I won't do what you tell me". The band had to remove this line for the radio edit, because their record label told them to. :) 5/5
Take The Power- Starts out with some bass riffing from Timmy C and some typical political lyrics. The song then goes into some nice heavy riffing from Tom Morello. Zack then starts his usual politcal rants before it goes into a shred solo from Tom Morello. Pretty nice track 4/5
Settle For Nothing- This song sounds different to the last 3 tracks. Starts with some light drums and guitar feedback. This track is a lot more angry in feel to the last few. The riffs are good and the dynamics really add to the song. 5/5
Bullet In The Head- This is a really cool one, some strange guitar noises from Tom Morello, they make a sort of grinding noise. There is also a sound that is simliar to a keyboard, but then you realise it's the bass. Nice riffing towards the end too. 4/5
Know Your Enemy- Crazy guitar to start with and a realy flashy bass line. Then the typical RATM riffing comes in later, and it sounds great. Similar to the first 3 tracks. There is also supposedly some additional vocals from Maynard James Keenan (of Tool and A Perfect Circle fame) although I can't really hear them. 5/5
Wake Up- The opening riff was ripped straight out of Kashmir by Led Zeppelin, but you can still hear Tom Morello's style coming through. Then the main riff comes in, which is very sweet. The wah effects in the verses are so funky and then the guitar solo is awesome, I'm guessing Tom is using a pitchshifter as well as his Whammy pedal. This song was used for the main theme on the film "The Matrix". 5/5
Fistful Of Steel- Really good song, with a massively driving bass line. The guitar is nice and heavy and has a raw sound to it. Zack's rapping is just as good in this song as any other and there's some cool high stuff from the guitars. Some of that AWESOME DJ scratching I mentioned earlier is in this track. Very, very nice. 5/5
Township Rebellion- This is another typical RATM song, some really cool tempo changes though. Other than that, it's just the usual Zack raving, Tom doing heavy riffs, Timmy C with cool basslines and Brad doing some straight beats. Zack goes crazy as usual in it. Some cool wah stuff towards the end too. 4/5
Freedom- Slow tempo, and just like the previous track, it's another typical RATM song. It's got all the characteristics, and in my opinion, a fairly weak album closer. Nothing much more to say about this one. 4/5
This album is awesome, and gets a 5/5, which I am fairly hesatant about giving, but I think it's deserving enough. If we were using a 10 scale, it would recive a 9.
Final Rating: 5/5