Review Summary: RATM burst onto the scene with a bang
In 2004 Green Day released one of angrier albums of the post-9/11 21st century (in other words, the only 21st century). Featuring satirical lyrics focused at the Bush administration and loud catchy guitar, "American Idiot" became one of the biggest hits of my generation. Sadly a little band named Rage Against the Machine did it before and much better; and so I go back in time to 1992 to listen incendiary 1992 debut. Needless to say, it lives up to expectations.
Starting off with "Bombtrack", the album introduces us to the guilty subjects. We get the calm, meditative guitar of Tom Morello that at any moment can switch moods and kick the color right out of you. Then there's Zack De La Rocha, who doesn't have the best voice in rock but it comes into great use when he's rapping. Finally there's the rhythm section, Tim Commerford (bass) and Brad Wilk (drums). This foursome take a page from the RHCP book and combines funk with metal, creating a unique sound that many later bands would try to copy once Nu-Metal took over the airwaves.
Really it is kind of hard to explain this album song by song, so I'll just point all the things that I like. First off, there's Tom's guitar. On later album, he would employ a turntable-like scratching effect to his guitar for his solos, but in this album he sticks with straight-up thrash guitar. On the funk side, there's Tim, who definitely knows his way around four-strings. In fact, is it inaccurate to say that he's on the same level as Flea? On the drums, there's Brad, who is one of the best drummers in nineties rock. He plays with the intensity of John Bonham and virtuosity of Kieth Moon. Finally there's Zack's vocal. His voice is delivered like nails to a black board. When a RATM song comes on the radio, it is his voice that immediately registers; be it when he's rapping or howling.
And that sums up the album. Taken on their own, the songs sound like part a larger puzzle. When together, we get a very angry painting that never takes it foot off the pedal. I wish I could review the songs the same way I did on "Elephant", but they need to be heard together in order to get the same effect. Check ya head, then check it out.