Rage Against The Machine
Rage Against The Machine


4.5
superb

Review

by Lurch USER (4 Reviews)
March 12th, 2019 | 7 replies


Release Date: 1992 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Rage Against the Machine is a true classic, seamlessly blending elements of punk and funk-rap without missing a beat.

Rage Against the Machine opens with a taut bassline, letting that tension stretch for just twenty-five seconds before it snaps, bursting into pounding riffs with a guttural “uh!” Make no mistake, this is not a “heavy” album – eventually, the chaos settles down and the song resumes, still carrying the restlessness and aggression of that opening passage. It is this restlessness – this constant undercurrent of violence – that forms the backbone of the album, drummer Brad Wilk’s fills maintaining a sense of urgency and giving the album the fast-beating pulse that makes it so engaging to listen to. Rage’s instrumentalists – guitarist Tom Morello, bassist Tim Commerford, and drummer Brad Wilk – have an excellent chemistry on this record, tracks rolling out the stereo breezy and aggressive and catchy and violent all at once. In comparison to the showboat-y wankery of his later acts, Morello’s guitar work is relatively grounded – yet nevertheless inventive and excellent. Rage’s debut is often identified as an album with mixed DNA, a combination of hip hop and rap blending together as they often do. To my ears, however, the dominant genre of this record is funk. Unlike their peers in the punk scene, Rage seek not dissonance but melody, all three instrumentalists taking a groove-oriented approach in their performances. Although De La Rocha’s vocals are often aggressive and harsh, nearly every track on this album is downright catchy – although the comparison is a bit of a stretch, it reminds me of a few tracks off Faith No More’s Angel Dust and King for a Day LPs.

While Rage’s instrumentalists give the album a strong, groove-based identity, it is rapper and frontman Zack De La Rocha that truly embodies as the soul of this record. Quick-witted, talented, and pissed off, De La Rocha turns biting social commentary into catchy rap verses with what seems like ease. De La Rocha wears many hats on this album and switches them at a moment’s notice, transitioning from slick rap verses to hoarse, screamed cries of “You’ve got a bullet in your ***ing head!” on mid-album barn-burner Bullet in the Head. While songs like Know Your Enemy and Township Rebellion feature fast-moving rap verses, track Killing in the Name closer resembles the slow, lumbering ferocity of Black Flag’s My War (although things never get THAT dark), with De La Zocha screaming furious chants that culminate in by far the most iconic line of the album. And, on that note, lyrics are yet another thing that Rage does extremely well on this record. De La Rocha spits vicious political commentary and churns out an endlessly quotable series of one-liners (“What? The land of the free?/Whoever told you that is your enemy!”) – De La Zocha’s delivery and lyrics are simply exhilarating. Overall, Rage Against the Machine is a truly well-crafted punk album where everything seems to hit juuust right, approaching a blend of punk and funk-rap with such genuine sincerity that, even as yet another post-Rage side project fails, Rage Against the Machine remains a classic.


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Comments:Add a Comment 
Point1
March 12th 2019


680 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah this album is a bulldozer.

StrikeOfTheBeast
March 12th 2019


8382 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Review is too short. It reads like an Allmusic review.



"Make no mistake, this is not a “heavy” album – eventually, the chaos settles down and the song resumes, still carrying the restlessness and aggression of that opening passage."



This sentence is quite contradictory. "Heavy" is a loosely defined term overall, but aggressive and restless are common descriptions for "heavy" music.



"In comparison to the showboat-y wankery of his later acts, Morello’s guitar work is relatively grounded – yet nevertheless inventive and excellent. "



This is true, but you don't really sell us on "how" he is grounded yet inventive. Newcomers to the band could use a more enticing sales pitch, perhaps describing some highlight moments on the album and his style.



"While songs like Know Your Enemy and Township Rebellion feature fast-moving rap verses, track Killing in the Name closer resembles the slow, lumbering ferocity of Black Flag’s My War (although things never get THAT dark), with De La Zocha screaming furious chants that culminate in by far the most iconic line of the album. And, on that note, lyrics are yet another thing that Rage does extremely well on this record."



Not a good transition here. Makes the mention of well-written lyrics seem like an afterthought or a shoehorned detail.



Egarran
March 12th 2019


12622 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

My gripe is the adjectives. You could easily remove most of them.



"De La Rocha turns social commentary into rap verses with ease." That's it.



Also this can't be funk-rap, I refuse to like funk-rap.

Lurch
March 13th 2019


5 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I actually agree - I kinda just banged this one out, proofread it, and posted it. I probably should've let it sit a bit and given it another look. Is it considered bad form to go back in and edit this review?

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 13th 2019


16651 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Not at all, I do it all the time.



Don't tell anyone though.



...





Oh sh...

Digging: Kayo Dot - Blasphemy

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
March 13th 2019


16651 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Also, "Rage Against the Machine is a true classic" then it should be a 5, JUST SAYING ;)

Egarran
March 13th 2019


12622 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

That's a fundamental and structural truth.



And yeah post-edits for the win. Such an underrated thing to do.



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