Yo, this be Reuben. I’ve never been a massive hip-hop fan, per say, and I often find rap plain annoying. But for some dang reason, Rage Against the Machine just got it right. So right, in fact, that they’ve got a staple place in my Top Ten Bands. Rage were awesome. The incredible rock quartet morphed metal riffs with bashful rap, in a wondrously angry and potently written brand of rap-metal, bringing to our grateful ears unforgettable hits like Bulls on Parade and Killing in the Name and making it look easy.
I thought it’d be apt to write about Rage Against the Machine especially at these times of ridiculousness in world politics, and I would like to say my very own “Suck it!” to Donald Trump and his goonies. No band screamed at the government better than Rage did in the 90’s, and no band ever will. They provided a simple message: take a crap on the government — and their phat riffs and violent rhymes pushed this to incredible levels.
Before we get underway, just to explain what the hell a ‘RANKED’ post is for y’all if you don’t know, I’ll be ranking the band’s albums from worst to best.
Zack de la Rocha and his merry men’s swansong was an aggressive goodbye, expertly crafted in places albeit a slightly mismatched record. At the very least, by 2000 the band, in terms of musicality, were on top form. De la Rocha puts out an immense and mature vocal performance, with a range of different techniques and degrees of anger, as the band flew through an album exploring unfamiliar territory in some more melodic material, lighter thangs and some classic hip-hop, to varying degrees of success. Microphone Fiend, Renegades of Funk, How I Could Just Kill a Man and Maggie’s Farm all mount as classics by the band, but others such as Beautiful World, In My Eyes and Kick Out the Jams stand as their weakest tracks.
In the end, the album is simply held back by the fact that none of the songs are original Rage material, which means the lyrics are restricted in terms of De la Rocha’s usual output, and some of the genres explored just don’t fit the band’s style. Even so, it’s a great record that certainly isn’t without its highlights and one that is highly recommendable to any fan.
Renegades of Funk
How I Could Just Kill a Man
The Battle of Los Angeles (1999)
This is an underrated gem of the 90’s. Although too inconsistent to call a masterpiece or anything mental like that, its best songs are truly awesome. The bass heavy mix puts Tim Commerford at the front of the music, as his groovy bass licks lead the album alongside Tom Morello’s heavy guitar work and Brad Wilk’s industrial beats. Never forget De la Rocha, he’s just as flippin’ amazing as always on this record.
There was a new level of anger to this record, with some of the most powerful riffs I’ve ever heard and an unfathomable power rhythm flowing through it. That annoying inconsistency (which comes in doses, mind) is what ultimately bars Battle of Los Angeles from the success and recognition of the band’s previous releases, but, at times, it is a thing to behold.
Calm Like a Bomb
Sleep Now in the Fire
Born of a Broken Man
We have now truly delved into classic territory. Even before Killing in the Name‘s Christmas No. 1 stint this album was an absolute classic and a ferocious debut like an explosion in the music industry of the early 90’s. This album is an unstoppable machine. The raw energy, power and aggression of the ragtag group is perfectly represented in this 10-track petrol bomb of a rock record with its understated production and un-tampered-with riffs.
Admittedly, it can be slightly too rough around the edges, but it’s an unforgettable listen, with countless unforgettable lines, and a whole lot of f-words. What could possibly beat this, I wonder?
Killing in the Name
Take the Power Back
Bullet in the Head
Know Your Enemy
Evil Empire (1996)
Better turn the bass up on this one…
Dude. Surely this, right? There is no cooler record. No better rap album, no better metal album. Remember how much I loved Korn‘s Follow the Leader? This is better. It feels like the perfect blend of all that Rage Against the Machine did well; the raw riffs, awesome lyrics and unfathomable groove, all fit into one incredible album. It’s all exemplified by the extremely dude-y effects and, it just seemed to all fall into place with this. The production, too, sounds more powerful and refined than their 1992 effort, and possesses just as much volcanic energy. It’s furious, catchy and there are no notable weak points to be endured -none of that inconsistency malarkey here, this record is full of goodies left right and center.
Evil Empire is one of few examples of musical heaven.
People of the Sun
Bulls on Parade
Without a Face
Year of tha Boomerang
Oh wait, that’s all the songs!
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