A message from AV8RS - In the world we live in now, you can go up to an average North American kid and ask them what a democeratic society is. The response will usually be the same. "They say that word in Star Wars Episode III alot!". What the kid doesn't understand is that the democracy we live in is a very oppurtunistic land. At the same time, poverty is one of the most un-noticed and problemestic issues in North America. South Detroit. South-Central Los Angeles. The list goes on and on. As help eludes these places, one can feel the anger of the lowly citizen. The ones where the cries of help are ignored. The people who resort to violence instead of negotiotiation. Sure, there are police, but they don't fully understand the struggle of life in the "hood", if you will. And when peace is shouted out to different countries, it goes unnoticed in it's own and is destroyed from the inside. While celebrities try to make a stand, it's just not enough for the people to see a grinning Scotsman (no names mentioned) on a stage talking passionless about poverty. No, that doesn't help to much, but bless their heart for trying. It's the rebellions that count. Rebellions that reach to all of the people and touch them the same way. These are the people that make a difference.
And now, the actual review.
It's hard to describe Rage Against the Machine without using the words "Powerful" and "Passionate". Rage have been the "Voice of the Voiceless" from 1992 - 1999, the span of three major albums, all with the same force and musicianship that the previous album embodied. You can hear Zack de la Rocha raps before they come, as they have a sense of presence. You can hear the wailing guitar styles of Tom Morello, whose riffs and solos sound even more pissed than Zack's raps. The rhythm section with the power of a thousand fist pumps behind them, as they are as powerful as a bull. The funky bass. The hard drums. All of these support the wailing lead guitar and pissed vocals. On Rage's 1999 release (and last as a band) The Battle of Los Angeles, they sound more passionate than ever. But enough, onto the album.
The Battle of Los Angeles
Zack de la Rocha: Vocals
Tom Morello: Guitar
Tim Commerfield: Bass, backing vocals
Brad Wilk: Drums and Percussion
All sounds made by Vocals, guitar, bass and drums.
This album has alot of great moments. Alot of passionate lyrics, alot of unique guitar effects and the like. The best songs are not hard to identify, as they are the most passionate. Though all have their fair share of intensity, but some more than others. There are the essentials, Guerrila Radio, Calm Like a Bomb, Sleep Now in the Fire,
andVoice of the Voiceless
are all relatively similar in texture. They usually have hard and catchy intros, effect-driven verses, raps about uprising, downfall, and often just plain anger. The chorus' sport the same riff featured in the intro, but adds some screaming-vocals repeating the title of the song, and adding some passionate lyrics surrounding them. A solo (all are very unique) by Tom Morello with some stellar affects, and a repeat. Usually a bridge, building up to the most powerful of the chorus' yet. Sure, the best songs are similar, but they are quite different in terms of musical quality and lyricism. The best, in my opinon, has got to be Calm Like a Bomb
, arguably the most catchy and powerful. The irresistable wah-wah bass riff, the climbing guitar riff, the simple but hard-hitting drums, and the rap that, to coin a phrase, isn't exactly "Calm Like A Bomb", but rather the power of a bomb. The chorus comes in, featuring the sceams of " Watcha say watcha say watcha say WHAATTT!!" and "Calm Like A Bomb!!!" over and over again, which also features huge riffs, a wah-wah bass and better drums than the chorus. Again, the verse comes in with the best lyrics - "Theres a field full of slaves, Some corn and some debit, Theres a ditch full of bodies, The check for the rent. Theres a tap, the phone, the silence of stone, The numb black screen, That be feelin like home". After an entertaining solo, it's over as powerful as it came. Sleep Now in the Fire
is almost as good. Featuring another hard rock riff and pronounced bass, fast drums and passionate raps which pick up speed as they go along. When the chorus, with it's great riffs and screams of "Sleep Now in the Fire!!!", you can't help but head-bang. I couldn't. The verse makes another appearance, with some better lyrics with more protest in them. The overall meaning of the song is, well, I don't know, but dammit it's powerful. Guerrila Radio
is even better, sporting a tremolo intro and a snare roll, making way for a great chorus featuring a wah-wah, ascending bass and the best raps on the album. Fast furious, powerful and unforgiving. The chorus is almost as good, but not as good. Though it has some power just in the music, which sounds more angry than the vocals. Another verse and chorus, and eventually a building bridge going into another powerful chorus makes this song another highlight.
There isn't anything wrong with this album, but some songs just aren't as good as the others. They can be tedious (Maria
), may have a lack of energy (Born as Ghosts
), and some may have some annoying riffs (Ashes in the Fall
). But otherwise, there isn't anything wrong with this album. Tracks such as Maria
drag it down a bit, though. Though it has a good premise (a Mexican immigrant coming to America), it lacks the massive riffs that the other songs had. A few good moments, though, as a bridge enters with more power than the whole song put together. It tends to repeat itself until it's done, but manages to keep it interesting with a great solo. Other songs just aren't good either. Born as Ghosts
is okay, but it sounds like a filler song with a lack of passion, as the lyrics don't leave that much of an impact as it's predecessors. Though the chorus is good and makes this song listenable, it really can't level down the ignorable riff in the chorus and repetetiveness. Good bass, though.
Overall: This album rocks. Nuff said. There are barely any bad songs, though there are a few fillers. This album carries so much passion (there's that word again) that you have no choice but to crank it and enjoy it as much as you can. Though the band never properly followed this up, which is a shame, the Rage albums have replay-ability, especially this and the debut. I also suggest if you like their albums, you should get the live album Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium
, featuring more anger than any album can hold. It's also their last concert.
Calm Like A Bomb
Sleep Now in the Fire
Born of a Broken Man
Voice of the Voiceless
War Within a Breath
Thanks for reading,