January 17th, 2005 | 202 replies

Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

The Band: Chris Cornell (Vocals)
Tom Morello (Guitars)
Tim Commerford (Bass Guitar)
Brad Wilk (Drums

Released: 2002 (Epic)

It was October 2000 when political rap/rock group Rage Against The Machine broke up, citing "a complete breakdown of the decision making process". Very quickly, rumours started circulating about what the various band members would do next, with it rapidly becoming clear that frontman Zack De La Rocha was planning on making a solo album that has sadly yet to see the light of day. For a while, however, the instrumental section remained in limbo, with record labels offering them chances to become the backing band for Ozzy Osbourne, and according to Tom Morello, even that of pop singer Macy Gray.

Thankfully, however, famed producer Rick Rubin persuaded Morello, Commerford and Wilk to enter the studio with Chris Cornell (formerly of grunge giants Soundgarden) in March 2001, with brilliant results: 21 songs written in 19 days. The drama wasn't over there though, as Cornell briefly left the fledgling group, before rejoining at a later date. This album was the result of the subsequent songwriting, and features Chris Cornell's powerful vocals over what is probably best described as what is now an out and out "rock" band instrumental section.

The songs:

1. Cochise. Opening with a jagged intro from Tom Morello, sounding more like a saw than anything else, this song opens with a broodingly menacing intro as Wilk and Commerford join him, before a hugely powerful riff kicks in. This song is about the plight of the last great Native Indian chief, and this emotive subject matter is definitely reflected in the power of this song, which acts as a brilliant statement of intent for the new group. The video for this features a huge fireworks display, which attracted the ire and fears of local residents who genuinely believed some sort of attack was taking place at the location of the video shoot due to the spectacular light show. Chris Cornell's shouted vocals really drive this song, without ever losing the melody as well. A very good opener, and therefore 5/5.

2. Show Me How To Live. Another very powerful intro builds into Morello and Commerford playing a dangerously smooth riff in unison before Cornell's seductive vocals come in over the top, leading into a truly mighty chorus, featuring the line "You gave me life, now show me how to live." Perhaps a reference to the troubled formation of the new band? This song really shows to me the "rock" roots of this band, owing more to Led Zeppelin than Public Enemy. However, there's still some of Morello's unorthodox guitar playing style, with an effects-laden solo. This is one of my favourites off the album, and a very good rock song. 4.5/5

3. Gasoline. Again, Tom Morello reaches into his bag of riffs for the intro here, with this song following approximately the formula of the first two. The guitar ducks in and out of the vocals, with the chorus absolutely exploding into life. This really showcases Cornell's vocals ( I consider him to be one of the great rock vocalists), with his singing ranging from what sounds like a near whine at times, to a dangerously menacing roar during the chorus. It's not quite as good as the opening two tracks, but absolutely not one to skip, featuring a very nice breakdown in the middle, where only Brad Wilk is left supporting Cornell, with Morello's guitar spiralling quietly in the background. 4/5

4. What You Are. This song opens in a much more mellow fashion, which leads the listener to think that it's a rock ballad rather than anything else. This illusion lasts until approximately 1:05 into the song, when Cornell kicks in with the chorus, "Now I'm free, from what you want". I interpret this as almost a dig at the music press who expected another political album given the band's history, but that's just my opinion. It's another very powerful rock song though, that's guaranteed to get the crowd going when performed live. 4/5

5. Like A Stone. This actually is a ballad, featuring one of the most simple guitar parts Tom Morello will ever play, a bass line that ducks and weaves in and out of the music. An out and out love song, this is probably my favourite song off the album, with the vocals again proving amazingly effective, this time at conveying a sense of yearning. The guitar solo in this is the strongest off the album as well, before something that I'd never thought I'd hear happens. Tom Morello playing the acoustic guitar before the final climax of the song. Quite brilliant, this gets 5/5.

6. Set It Off. This song is a bit of a dip in standards, with a more distorted opening leading into a typically dramatic series of riffs. There's nothing actually wrong with it, and indeed I think it's one of the times on the album where Tim Commerford's talent is most notable, but it sounds too similar to the likes of Gasoline without quite having the muscular power to make it work for me. 3.5/5

7. Shadow On The Sun. Cornell to the fore again, with a quiet guitar part in the background. It build in the chorus before fading again. To me, this song shows that Audioslave are not the one-trick ponys that some of their critics label them as, but are capable of variety in the moment, as well as some quite exquisite musical moments, such as Cornell's low crooning during the verses. Like track 2 off the album, this seems designed to me to be played on a long journey, due to it's feel, and another great Morello solo. 4/5

8. I Am The Highway. Another quiet kind of song that features the mighty duo of Cornell and Morello at their most wistful. There's nothing brilliant going on here, but what stands out for me is the band's ability to construct a very good chorus in the middle of what is one of the weaker songs off the album. Again, this gets 3.5/5

9. Exploder. They're back with the rock in this. Commerford again has a proper bassline powering this along, with vocals that can only be described as arrogant in tone giving this an added swagger. Something I haven't mentioned so far is Brad Wilk's drumming, which often is criticised for it's simplicity. He's very much one of the "less is more" school of drummers, but here it is notable that he's doing the right thing at the right time, and helping to provide a very firm base for the guys out front to pull out their fireworks. This is a return to the earlier hights of the album, and ends with Cornell making strange noises, before the band play a one note outro, hitting their instruments in unison. 4.5/5

10. Hypnotise. This is very much a drum led song, with Brad Wilk to the fore while the guitar stutters in the background. Cornell sings warningly "Don't keep your good luck to yourself" as the chorus. The solo to this is very experimental, and wouldn't sound out of place in a Rage song, but somehow Tom Morello does his usual feat of making it not sound out of place in the song. 4/5

11. Bring 'Em Back Alive. I think it's at this point that the album starts flagging. Not because the previous songs have been bad, but because this is a weak song that sounds almost like an imitiation of the peaks of the album. It's also the second longest song on the album, which follows the formula of some of the earlier tracks. There's nothing completely catastrophic about it, but everyone knows that they can do better than this, based solely on the earlier tracks. 3/5

12. Light My Way. An intro that sounds like a soaring wind leads into a very chunky riff, that quickly turns into something more electronic. This is a more mournful song than many on the album, in spite of another big chorus, but again, it seems that we've heard this before, in spite of a few nice touches such as a curious Morello effect in the verses. 3.5/5

13. Getaway Car. I like this more than the previous 2 tracks. This is probably because they don't attempt to follow the previous formula, without quite the riff and chorus to back it up. This is a slow song, possibly the most so on here, and it's very easy to see them recording it in calm at the studio, with other people in the room. It's just got that relaxing vibe that shows that when they don't limit themselves to one strict style they can make different sounding music. 4/5

14. The Last Remaining Light. Sadly though, this doesn't stand as a strong end to the album. It's a song that seems throughout that it could be a out to burst into life, but instead hovers on the verge of doing so, while Morello's guitar chimes in the background. Although it loudens shortly after 3 minutes in, it doesn't leave a great taste in the mouth, and so gets only 3/5.

Reading through this again, I feel that there are a few points that need to be made. First of all, although this is by no means a brilliant album, and some of the songs do get repetitive, there are some brilliant songs on here. The first 1/2 of the album is very strong, and it flags in the second half due to some repetiveness and also as the songs just aren't as good. It probably should have been trimmed to 10 or 11 tracks, and the fact it was not can be probably attributed to over eagerness on behalf of a new band wanting to make a mark.

What this album does do, however, is show the potential of the group. After it's troubled conception, they have made a good rock album, which serves as a solid debut, and hints at a promising future. One of the main reasons for some of the criticism is probably the same reason for the criticism suffered by Velvet Revolver. Namely that the band is not the same as Rage/Guns N Roses. To this I say that it's quite obvious why that is not the case. This is a different band, with different musical ideas. There is no valid way of comparing it with Rage. Incidentally, this album sounds better listened to as a whole, rather than individually critquing each track, not unlike albums by bands such as Radiohead and Pink Floyd. Overall, therefore, while this album is not a classic, it is a very good rock album, and has only one main fault, that being that it is too long by a few tracks.

Final rating: 4.1/5

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Comments:Add a Comment 
May 11th 2005



July 23rd 2005



July 24th 2005


Album Rating: 3.0

Nice review for a good album. I'd probably rate it 3,5/5. I'd give Set it off 4 or 4,5 though... one of my favourites off the album.

I saw them live at Roskilde Festival (if anyone knows it) and they were quite cool, although Chris' vocals weren't as apparant or impressive as usual... Tom Morello kicked ass though...

About 'Show me how to live' he said it was the closest he's ever been to writing a spiritual song.

And I completely agree with this statement: "The first 1/2 of the album is very strong, and it flags in the second half due to some repetiveness and also as the songs just aren't as good."

Nice review ;)

July 24th 2005


Album Rating: 2.5

I see this is a bland, generic rock record. Not much special here. Though I do love Like a Stone.

Storm In A Teacup
November 7th 2005


Album Rating: 4.0

Like A Stone isn't a love song. It's about an old man waiting to die.

November 7th 2005


This is a terrific album. Great review, too :thumb:

December 11th 2005


Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, I disagree with your ratings on the last two tracks; I think they are both brilliant. Good review!

December 11th 2005


this is a good one. alot better then out of exile.
what you are is proably one of my favorite break-up songs emmm emm makes me feel good

December 11th 2005


SOundgarden's okay, but I don't like Audioslave in the least bit.

Activista anti-MTV
August 28th 2006


Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Good review. I loved this album when it came out. I still feel strongly about it. Not godly, but very good.This Message Edited On 08.28.06

September 12th 2006


Album Rating: 3.5

I have to say that The Last Remaining Light is one of my favorite songs. To me, at least, it really does evoke the feeling of the sun setting for the last time.

As for the rest of the album, it's pretty consistent and solid. I can sit down and listen to this through the whole album, though it does get a little boring around the 3 tracks before The Last Remaining Light. It's also kind of a fun listen, a little uplifting at times.

May 25th 2007


This album is much better then most people will give it credit for.

The first few songs just plain rock. It does seem to flag off at the end, but those songs really grew on me (especially Bring 'Em Back Alive).

Great album.

June 4th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

Generic rock at its best.

November 17th 2013


Album Rating: 3.5

I don't know... To me, it just sounds like Rage with Cornell. Playing songs that aren't as good. Still - Morello pumps out some great riffs throughout.

November 17th 2013


this band doesn't make me happy

January 15th 2014


Album Rating: 4.5

Great review, I agree with everything you said, except that I'd giev Show Me How To Live a 5/5. This album is pure power done in a tasty way.

Staff Reviewer
January 15th 2014


Album Rating: 4.2

Show me How to Live is a hard classic

Digging: Broken Social Scene - Old Dead Young (B-Sides & Rarities)

January 15th 2014


yup album is bland af but show me how to live rocks for days

used to be the theme song for sports tonight back in 03/04

those were the days :D

Staff Reviewer
January 15th 2014


Album Rating: 4.2

Nah album rules

Tracks 1-8 are all the shit

Espesh Shadow on the Sun what a tune

January 15th 2014


actually cochise jams

my brother used to blast this shit in his car and all i can remember is those two songs and another half an hour of homogenous gravelly generic rock

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