I’m highly inexperienced at writing music reviews and I probably should’ve left this to Speedy as he knows more about both Rage Against the Machine and music in general, but I couldn’t help myself from writing about this stellar album. Admittedly, there are a few crap puddles on the album, not naming anything *cough* *cough* *Ashes in the Fall* *cough* *cough*, but the goodness definitely outweighs the heinousness of it.
The album opens with a bang, crash, wallop and “My Leg!” as Testify blasts your ear drums within a matter of seconds, however the best is yet to come. The winding, psychedelic guitar that eerily guides Zack de la Rocha’s angry as always lyrics and singing/rapping style and the heavily used crashing symbols grabs your attention before you can comprehend what you are listening to.
After that follows my personal favourite, Guerrilla Radio, a song that starts of heavy, then gets quiet, then gets heavy, then gets quiet, then quieter, then loud, then heavy, then LOUD. It’s terribly formulaic but its great. The lyrics have all the attitude of a Rage song and then some and the rumbling drum beats are just delicious.
Following that slice of excellence is another great song, Calm Like A Bomb, with De la Rocha’s lyrics and style at it’s best. It has one the best openings to any song ever, as we faintly hear De la Rocha whisper the song’s “tagline” if you will, “Feel the Funk Blast” to an almost happy baseline. Then, out of nowhere, he shouts that eternal line and catches you off guard. A raw, loud, groovy guitar riff kicks in as De la Rocha gets all political on yo ass.
Then, it goes downhill. I won’t talk much about Mic Check, except that it actually sounds as if they ran out of ideas and recorded a mic check.
Then, it goes uphill! Sleep Now in the Fire has a very western feeling to it, with it’s riff and slightly different singing style. A song you can both mosh to, or if you have a headache (in which case, why the hell are you listening to Rage Against the Machine?), can gently bob your head along to.
I realised that I am in close proximity of overrunning the agreed length of the reviews for this website so I’m missing out Born of a Broken Man, Born as Ghosts, Maria, Ashes in the Fall (it’s crap anyway) and War Within a Breath. I feel is if I should be honest with you. I also realised I have wasted a few words writing that.
Anyway, Voice of the Voiceless, has a tasty melody that pairs perfectly with chorus and contrasts perfectly with the high pitched whining the guitar makes when De la Rocha does his trademark quiet rapping with nonsensical lyrics that are still freakin’ awesome. The power chords that open the song wake you up after an underwhelming interval of songs.
Finally, the last noteworthy song, New Millennium Homes, utilises some of Zack de la Rocha’s coolest tools, his quiet rapping, his unrelated repeated lines, his shouty choruses. The funky baseline subtly compliments the powerful guitar and on-point drumming. 3:44 of great music.
Powerful, political, perhaps underrated, this is a rough gem in Rage’s discography.
Lots of hugs, kisses and lacerations,