Album: Out of Exile
Chris Cornell - vocals
Tom Morello - guitars
Tim Commerford - bass
Brad Wilk - drums
Audioslave is the first real "supergroup" of the millenium. The band is a union composed of former Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell and former Rage Against the Machine members Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, and Brad Wilk. Their self titled debut in 2002 gave us a few memorable songs such as "Like A Stone", "I Am the Highway", and "Cochise", but the critics found themselves begging for more of Soundgarden and RATM, as though the band caused people to think back rather than look ahead. Their new album "Out of Exile" is their second studio album to be released. I am a fan of Audioslave, but I will try to make this as unbiased as possible.
I realize there is already a review for this, but I thought I'd make my own for the record.
1. Your Time Has Come - 4:15
2. Out of Exile - 4:51
3. Be Yourself - 4:39
4. Doesn't Remind Me - 4:15
5. Drown Me Slowly - 3:53
6. Heaven's Dead - 4:36
7. The Worm - 3:57
8. Man or Animal - 3:53
9. Yesterday to Tomorrow - 4:33
10. Dandelion - 4:38
11. #1 Zero - 4:58
12. The Curse - 5:09
1. Your Time Has Come - This track opens the album with a force very similar to that of "Cochise" on the first Audioslave album. The guitar comes in with a distorted riff that is simple, yet makes one yearn to learn it. The catchy bassline carries Chris' vocals perfectly and the drums compliment both vocals, guitars, and bass well. The lyrics are about people who have all died before they had to, or so Chris feels. Tom Morello gives another one of his effected solos and then an interlude which has Brad helping Chris build to the final chorus. This song reminds me of "Cochise" a little too much however. The bassline for the verse seems a bit similar to me, and that makes this song just not appeal to me as much. While the entire song is very catchy, I wish that they weren't using this one as a single because some people might note that it does seem to sound similar to "Cochise" and they may feel cheated. This song is a bit too much like "Cochise" to me.
2. Out of Exile - The title track opens with a simple intro by Tom and moves onto the riff that will become the chorus, which is very powerful. During the verse, Tom plays a simple bit, but what catches the ear is Tim's bassline. You hear it more than Tom, and it keeps the mood of the song perfectly. Chris seems to be singing about his life being saved by a woman, and judging from the lyrics, it sounds as if she has cleansed him. This could be in reference to his wife, and he does a good job of expressing how beautiful he finds salvation, if my interpretation is correct. The solo is what caught my attention right off the bat. Tom finally gives us a more complex solo on an album, theory wise, for the first time in about 10 years. You'll hear more solos like this on the album, which is a very nice thing to hear after so many solos of nothing but effects.
3. Be Yourself - The first single off of the album and, in my opinion, a bad choice. It reminds me of a few U2 songs I've heard down the road and the lyrics just don't appeal to me. The bassline is fine, and the intro gives you a general idea of the mood. Chris tells of people and those who have done the exact opposite of what they have done. For example, the lyrics "someone gets excited
in a chapel yard/ catches a bouquet/ another lays a dozen white roses on a grave" state that one person is celebrating life, while the other mourns a death. I'm not sure how to interpret how this all is summed up to "be yourself" because in these situations, you may not be who you usually are. Possibly, he means to say that we should be who we are in all situations, but then again, my interpretation is my own and may not be anywhere close as to what Chris' is. The solo is typical Morello, effected. He uses dynamics wisely and makes it fit the mood. I've never liked this track and I don't feel like this represents the entire album well at all.
4. Doesn't Remind Me - A clean guitar opens this track and we are met with Chris singing about things that let him relax because they don't remind him of anything bad. The drums accompany the guitar well, and Tim's bassline is very rhythmic and catchy. It's a very upbeat song and it's pleasant to listen to when you feel like mellowing out. There is a short interlude where Chris sings softly and Tim's bassline gives you the impression that something is building up, and then it comes. Tom solos and it's beautiful to me. It's the perfect solo to the tone of the song, and it's not so heavy laden with effects so that it's impossible to learn. It's a blues based solo that gets very fast near its close. It's a good track and one of my favorite songs by Audioslave. Only thing I didn't like is how Chris sings the interlude before the solo. It sounds like his voice is cracking, and if he meant it to, it could have been better.
5. Drown Me Slowly - This song catches me in the beginning with its obvious hard rock guitars and upbeat drumming. The lyrics are something to try and interpret. I'm not even sure how to try, so I won't to save you all a load of anguish. The guitar is very hard rock and it's comforting for a while until the solo. The solo gives us the same scratching effect used in such RATM songs such as "Bullet in the Head" and "Bulls on Parade" until he phases and a faster, more challenging part arises. The bassline is upbeat and supports everything perfectly, as Tim always seems to accomplish. There is an interlude where Chris sings "Don't let them bring you down/ You'll leave a better world than you found" which is nice and mellow for a while and then it goes back to the chorus. The song is a favorite for many critics, and if it wasn't for the scratching, I'd love to listen to it more.
6. Heaven's Dead - The ballad on the album, "Heaven's Dead" is simple and beautiful at the same time. Morello gives a beautiful guitar part for Chris to work with and Chris uses it well. He's singing about how when a girl gets sad, everything seems to die and that he's with her for it all. The bassline and drumming works well with Cornell's voice and Morello's guitar. The solo is beautiful, but short. It still does an excellent job telling us what Cornell is singing about through its sound. This song is a good addition to the album, but as a ballad, it seems to run a bit short.
7. The Worm - This song seems to ooze heavy rock, but the only thing I've found to be able to like is the chorus of "Halo, I'm complete/ Halo, with me underneath/ Halo, I'm reborn/ I can do no wrong". The guitar intro sounds cool, and the drums sound fine with the bass. Tim, Brad, and Tom have done well, but the song doesn't strike me as that impressive. Chris is singing about how he grew up and was reborn. If anyone doesn't know, Chris used to steal and experiment with drugs. He is now clean, but smokes about a pack a day. The song itself is fine, but it doesn't strike me as that impressive.
8. Man or Animal - This track seems to sound a little bit more like a Soundgarden song than an Audioslave song. It has a more laid back feel to it but for some reason, I keep wanting to hear Kim, Matt, and Ben back Cornell on this. Not that Tom, Brad, and Tim aren't doing a good job. Tom does some scraping effect in the beginning and it sounds very much like a creaking door, or the dead chick from "The Grudge". The intro is catchy and the guitar part throughout the song is fine. The drums are upbeat and work well with Chris's vocals. The solo isn't very memorable, just a lot of phasing, wah, and palm scraping and the song sounds short to me. It's my opinion that most of these songs could be better if they were a little bit longer and if more effort was put into solos. I'd eventually like to hear a bass solo from Tim, and that might have been cool for this track. Still a catchy track and I like how Chris sings at the end "You give me a heart attack/ I will give you more than that".
9. Yesterday to Tomorrow - The bass into is persistant. It's sort of like Tim is telling you to wait for some good stuff. I've always liked the effect Tom uses and I use it myself when I feel the need to compose a mournful song or one to cause latent memories to come back. Again, I can't find my place to really interpret Chris's lyrics, so I'm not going to try. They sound from the heart, as most of his lyrics are, so I'll leave that up to you. The solo is funky at first then goes into a darker sounding part which is probably dark to me because of Tim's bassline and the way the mood of the song generally hits me. It sounds like it's supposed to be dark, and for me, it works. It's a good listen if you're down and out for a bit.
10. Dandelion - This song is very upbeat, and I think Chris is singing about someone he's comparing to a dandelion, as he sings "Little dandelion, let your heart keep time." It's meant to give us all a vision of beauty and to sort of hold onto it, I think. The guitar and bass are very upbeat, and the drums help keep an upbeat tempo. The first thought I thought when I hard this song was "This does not sound like something the RATM boys would have written 6 years ago" but I keep thinking that this is a different band so look to their sound as it is and not how it was. Tom gives a very nice solo that keeps the mood of the song and it is rather uplifting. This is a favorite of mine on the album because it sort of lets you mellow out, especially after a day at work or a day of non-stop complaining from whoever. The entire song ends at a comfortable 4:38 minutes and is one of the only ones on this album I wouldn't have made a second longer.
11. #1 Zero - Tom uses the same effect as he did in "Yesterday to Tomorrow" and it's Chris singing about a person who calls him their number one zero, but even so, he will always look over this person. The song is a bit dark, but Tom gives the song a very nice solo which is rather gracefull to compliment Tim's bassline, as powerful as it is. It is one of the darker songs on the album and it does a good job as acting as one. I never could like it for its darker tone, but Tom's solo is a good one to listen to and he makes it seem rather laid back even for the speed.
12. The Curse - This is the most Soundgarden-esque song on the album, as my local music critic put it. I don't hear as much Soundgarden as he did, but I heard it in the intro. It is a powerful finish and the bass and guitar work perfectly together. It's a sort of upbeat song, and it's Chris basically saying to anyone, as the lyrics tell us, that he will never be their curse, even at his worst. The interlude before the guitar solo sounds cool to me, and the guitar solo is rather simple, but it fits the mood of the song well. The song is generally very catchy, and its time is very comfortable for the finishing track.
- more solos by Morello that don't use all effects. He shreds on here, and that's nice to hear after each album he's been on after "Evil Empire"
- catchy basslines and guitar riffs
- good production
- a better effort than their first album, not to say their first album was bad
- a lot of songs seem short
- some songs remind me of earlier songs by Audioslave
- the entire album is less than an hour long
- nothing really as defining as it could have been
My overall rating: 3.5/5
It is a fine album, but the material isn't as defining as it could have been. If someone doesn't like Audioslave because of how they performed on the first album, then there aren't many more reasons to like them now, other than Morello's soloing. Also, the choice of radio singles really aren't helping to display how the band has improved since its self titled debut. Otherwise, this album is a fine addition to any collection and I recommend it.
Out of Exile, Doesn't Remind Me, Drown Me Slowly, Yesterday to Tomorrow, Dandelion, The Curse
Hope you found this review helpful.