Released in the fall of 1992, Rage Against the Machine’s album, Rage Against the Machine, is without a doubt their best album to date.
Each track to the album carries its own originality. From [all] lyrics written and shouted by the band’s lead singer, Zack De La Rocha, to the slicing riffs of lead guitarist Tom Morello’s guitar, to the powerful bass and drums of Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk. Fitting well to their name, the boys of Rage Against the Machine raged in this album – and no one rages quite like these dudes.
In the album, you’ll get a lot of Rage Against the Machine’s signature bass line, that’s typically followed with riffs from the lead guitar – you’ll hear a lot of this all over the album. The bass always grows strong and powerful and that’s when you’re slammed hard with that fiery rage.
You’ll also notice Morello and Commerford’s unique combined sound they’ve developed while working with one another on the main riffs within the Rage Against the Machine album.
And I dare not forget to mention the stupid insane solos. No, I don’t mean like, dumb or anything along those lines – I mean crazy, WILD fucking solos. Incredibly and immensely original, I tell you.
The solo in "Settle for Nothing" the "dentist drill" solo in "Killing In The Name" the ridiculously unexpected solo in "Wake Up" that catches your ass totally off guard (I know it sure as hell did mine); the harmonized solo in "Township rebellion" the selector switch solo in "Bullet In The Head"
Still with me?
There are some moments in the album where you’ll find yourself getting a little bored with the way Rage Against the Machine’s solos become a tad bit “dry” (particularly towards the end of the album, which we’ll touch on a little further into this review). There are just some parts in some of the tracks where I certainly wish there was more action going on. But please, don’t let this bit turn you off from the album though. Despite these little “dry” flaws in the Rage Against the Machine album, I’m 100% confident you’ll disregard those and fixate on loving everything else about it.
Enough of my jabbering. Let’s get to it.
Zack De La Rocha: Rather than using melodic vocals, De La Rocha incorporates rap into each Rage Against the Machine track, creating a unique sound with his passion and anger.
Guitarist Tom Morello: As a huge hip-hop fan, Morello does not go about denying his classic rock roots. Because of his diverse taste in music, he incorporates funky hip-hop sounds, like old school record scratching (think house parties) into classic heavy rock riffing pieces. Morello’s unique style just fits so well with Rage Against the Machine.
Bassist Timmy Commerford & drummer Brad Wilk: The two were highly known for their unique combined sound when they were paired together. A tight rhythm from Brad’s drums with a touch of funk in the slapping bassline from Timmy’s bass guitar.
In the lyrics, it’s not difficult to notice that Rage Against the Machine’s vocalist, Zack de la Rocha, is firmly making a stand – and he does it in the absolute rawest way: Rapping. Whispering through gritted teeth; shouting, screaming and belting his lungs out; talking directly to his audience – to YOU. Rage Against the Machine has perfected the fusion between rapping and metal, giving a fresh edge to rap metal.
It’s unfortunate to anyone who dislikes rap music or at least anyone who isn’t open to listening to rap style of Rage Against the Machine.
Fuck You, I Won’t Do What You Tell Me!
While there is excessive swearing all throughout the album, it’s somehow difficult to be easily offended with Zack’s expression of his emotions. The guy is just extremely passionate about his political issues, you know? Can’t down him for that. Besides, Rage Against the Machine is one of those bands who really won’t push themselves to suit a commercial target market. They really don’t give a shit to those who don’t like their music style. Rage Against the Machine makes it obvious that they aren’t really out to impress anyone.
Nothing is more promising than a note that says: “No samplers, computers or keyboards were used in the making of this recording” in the booklet of an album.
And that’s exactly what’s said in the Rage Against the Machine’s Rage Against the Machine album.
Bombtrack: Your typical Rage Against the Machine track. Opening with a smooth riff at the start of the track, leading you further in with some drums and that slapping bass we’ve been talking about. The riffing continues but not without De La Rocha’s vocals. What a way to get introduced to an album, I’ll say.
Killing In The Name: I absolutely love this shit right here. This is the track that defined Rage Against the Machine – not just the album, but the overall band. Zack boldly puts his political opinions on blast with his aggressive rapping he does oh-so well. Tom Morello’s guitar solo is by far one of his finest moments, creating a drill-like sound using a whammy pedal. It’s completely fucking insane.
Fun fact: Everybody knows this song for the verse toward the end when Zack shouts “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me!”, but before the song was allowed to be aired over the radio, Rage Against the Machine were told they had to approve for that verse to be taken out of the song for the radio version.
And they did what they were told.
Take The Power: The track opens with Timmy Commerford’s bass riffs and is then accompanied by De La Rocha’s political lyrics and then Morello’s heavy riffing of his own. Without a doubt another track full of Zack’s political rants and that’s perfectly okay because it’s such a sick ass track.
Settle for Nothing: The sound to this song trails away from the sound of the previous three tracks. Some light drumming and guitar feedback. The anger in this song is a little more amped compared to the last three tracks as well. And you thought ‘Killing In the Name’ was angry…
Bullet in The Head: Bullet In The Head is a personal favorite of mine because of the odd distortion from Morello’s guitar riffs and then the keyboard-like sounds that you would never believe to be coming from Timmy’s bass. Fooled me.
Know Your Enemy: Starts with a funky guitar intro followed by such a flashy bass line. Pretty similar to the first three tracks of the album, with its signature Rage Against the Machine riffing and it’s even said to have some guest vocals by Maynard James Keenan from Tool (although I’ll be quite honest with you, I can’t really hear him).
Wake Up: There’s no doubt that the opening piece was ripped straight out of Led Zepplin’s Kashmir, however, you can still hear Morello’s own style within the riffs. Fun thing about this song is that it was actually used as the main theme song for the film ‘The Matrix’ which is pretty awesome.
Fistful Of Steel: Full of Zack’s rapping accompanied by an incredibly driving bass line and some heavy guitar adding some rawness to the song. I really enjoyed what Morello did with the high-pitched guitar stuff in this one, showing off his brilliance.
Township Rebellion: Yet another track you’d hear randomly and instantly know it was a Rage Against the Machine song. The tempo changes keep you on your toes; I’ll promise you this is not a track that bores you easily. As always, the boys completely kill it with this one. Oh, how I love you, Township Rebellion.
Freedom: Although the tempo is a little slowed down compared to the rest of the track on the album, it’s still got that Rage Against the Machine feel that you’d recognize right away. I will admit that this one was quite a bit of a disappointment – at least as a closing track to an incredible album like this one. Although the boys maintained their style in this slower track, it’s not the epic close [I think] they intended it to be.
The overall impression of the Rage Against the Machine album? To me, it’s one of the greatest rock metal albums of my time. The album makes me glad to have been a kid born in the 90’s, able to grow up with such progressive music like that of Rage Against the Machine. It’s an album that’s likeable in diverse music communities. With Zack’s rapping, screaming and swearing and his band mates’ going HARD on their instruments to compliment that bold statements made in each track’s lyrics…
Sure, there is a lot (and I mean a lot) of talk on politics in this album, but to those who can have an open mind while going into listening to this album, I’ll promise you you’ll have a great time listening to it.
And that’s a wrap. Until next time, friends.