I’d prefer a nice empire.

Oh boy. Rage Against the Machine. They’re the best. Well, maybe not the best; but one of the best. Rap, metal and rock all in one insane riff-filled package: that is Rage Against the Machine‘s music.

This, Evil Empire, is the album that properly got me into them; as before I never actually listened to them all that much. It got me into them so quickly that I decided they were an amazing band within the first few minutes of listening to it. Now that is a good start. This good start is with the first two tracks, People of the Sun and Bulls on Parade, which remain in my opinion to be two of the best songs the band has to offer.

People of the Sun is heavy, catchy and an awesome rap song at heart, with thumping bass and cool guitar stuff and Zack de la Rocha rap-shouting all over the place, in one awesome opening track. And then Bulls on Parade is even better. As in even better, I mean one of the best Rage songs I’ve heard. Bulls on Parade is one hell of a rap song with many a groovy riff and many a catchy moment in one of the coolest (yeah, you’re reading this right), catchiest and satisfyingly bassy songs I have ever heard: Rage Against the Machine style. And it is amazing.

And then the album goes on, to what I think is Rage‘s best song (maybe excluding Killing in the Name): Vietnow. It is so good, because it is so unique. It is filled with cool guitar stuff, varying tones, pitches, volume and pitch perfect rap-singing/shouting by the God that is de la Rocha, with some of the best bass work out there in one groovy song that is heavy enough to be moshed to. The song exhibits fantastic musical variety and brilliant writing on the band members’ part, being a song that can never be boring nor not as good as when you first heard it. This song shows off Evil Empire at it’s best; with variety, heaviness, catchiness, a violent and political edge, perfect stuff from Zack de la Rocha and some really cool stuff and a lot of deep tones with awesomeness on the bassist’s part and through Tom Morello in what is really rap music at heart. I rambled a bit there, but what the heck, it got the message across.

Oooooooh, Revolver. Revolver, Revolver, Revolver. Revolver‘s a cool song. A really cool song. It’s progressive, it’s heavy, it’s extra-groovy. This is the first song in which Zack de la Rocha brings out his most iconic rap-singing techniques, fiddling around with his vocal chords, changing his pitch, tone and volume throughout; going fittingly mad at times along with the incredible and knee-thumpingly heavy riff that plays at the heart of it, but going quiet and whisper-y whenever he needs to play along with the atmosphere of the song and make the next awesome bit all the more awesome when it arrives. You want variety, awesomeness, Tom Morello whizzing out on the guitar and Zack de la Rocha going crazy? You got it. And, moreover, you’ve got it in one pretty damn incredible song.

And then the album gets into something a little bit different with Snakecharmer and Tire Me; both concentrating on the rock and metal aspects rather than the rap. But that isn’t a bad thing, far from it; because they are both fantastic songs, and Tire Me can be really quite catchy in its slightly punk-rocky ways.

And then the album goes back to the old style of the first few songs, and there is no dip in quality nor is there a lack of creativity or awesomeness. It’s just I’m not going to talk about them other than that they are just as amazing as the other songs before it; these songs being Down Rodeo, Wind Below and Roll Right. Wind Below is probably the best of those three.

And the final significant song on the album, the last: The Year of tha Boomerang. This song is definitely the most of a rap song on the whole album, but does not abandon everything that made the other songs so incredible. It is extra-catchy and extra-cool, and ends the album on a good note.


Rage Against the Machine were an incredible band and this, Evil Empire, is the most incredible album they produced; being filled with knee-thumpingly heavy riffs, Tom Morello’s genius guitar work, a whole load of musical variety and pitch perfect rap-singing from the God that is Zack de la Rocha. Evil Empire is an incredible album and is probably one of the best albums I’ve ever listened to.

So I give it: 98/100.

– Speedy.

One thought on “Rage Against the Machine – Evil Empire (1996) Review

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