Hi all. Today is the 25th anniversary of the release of the debut album by Rage Against The Machine. At the time it was looked upon as an important album which continued the musical shelshock of the mainstream by the Alternative Rock Nation. It also helped to give birth to New Metal a year later, influencing bands such as: Korn, Limp Bizkit and other bands with a similar take on both rap music and heavy metal . Fortunately, it still sounds as good today, as it did back in 1993, when it had become recognized as a landmark album in the further evolution of hard music.
This won’t be an in depth look at it, like I have done with other albums but rather pointing out and emphasizing both the most important and the lease recognized songs on the album One of the most well known songs off this very important album is Killing In The Name, which has the repeated fraise “fuck you I won’t do what you tell me” near the end of it 16 times. Wikipedia incorrectly states that it is spoken 17 times and it may have to do with the word “motherfucker” spoken after the last time this is heard. The beginning of the song is also unmistakable, with both the guitar and bass playing a D power cord 4 times. This song was also released as a single and somehow pllayed on the radio. However, the offending repeated fraise was obviously removed after the guitar solo. Apparently someone accidentally played the album version and something must have happened… Maybe a fine or someone was either suspended or fired. I don’t know but that is how things turned out for the song and thankfully, it has done well despite the use of the word fuck in it.
There are other songs which also deserve attention for their greatness on this album. Know your enemy is a great song with great riffs by Tom Morello, the bass playing of Tim Commerford which is also complimented by the drumming of Brad Wilk and the vocals of Zack de la Rocha to round out the band. This song also features another voice just before the guitar solo, in the form of Maynard James Keenan from the band Tool, who were also on their way up and who toured with Rage for a bit. Maynard sings the lines “I got no patients now… I’m sick of complacence now… Time has come too pay. ” It really isn’t a surprise that both bands were on the 1993 version of The Lollapalooza festival, along with many other popular Alternative bands at the time.
The track Settle For Nothing is the slowest and darkest track on the album but make no mistake, this song is no balid and contains the same amount of anger that permeates the rest of it. The song is supported mainly by a bass line and ominous speaking by Zack. I think it is cool because it shows that the band isn’t just about political anger and anger in general. It tackles the topic of abuse in the home in a way that nobody had done before.
The final track Freedom is a tipical Rage song in that it is angry and it is also dynamic. Just before the musical chorus, Zack speaks the words “anger is a gift “then the band kicks in with the faster chorus. At the end of the song, the affect of the band trashing their instruments is heard, as the last thing you hear is buzzing from an amplifier, just to end it all on a distructive note.
Ever since the album came out, Rage has released 3 more albums: Evil Empire, The Battle Of Los Angeles and Renigades. The latter came out after singer Zack de la Rocha left to start a solo career. In the meantime, the other three members formed a new band, in the shape of Audioslave with former SoundGarden frontman Chris Cornell and released three albums, the self-titled debut album Audioslave, out Of Exile and Revelations. Then in 2007, Rage got back together and have worked with each other in various forms ever since. The latest is the supergroup Profits of Rage, with the 3 remaining members of Rage Against The Machine and wrappers Chuck D of Public Enemy and B-Real from Cypress Hill, along with DJ Lord. They have released music and were formed because of the political climate today in America. Also, Chris Cornell died on May 18 of this year, so no chance of an Audioslave reunion.
The Rage Against The Machine album is one of the few that Tom Morello has recorded, with the exception of his work with Audio Slave, that has more conventional guitar solo’s on it. It is also an introduction to what sounds out of his guitar, we would hear on future Rage and Audio Slave albums and elsewhere. Some people have stated that this album sounds unusually fully formed for a debut album. This may be partly because of all the members of Rage being in previous bands and having experience in the studio. Another thing that us Canadian’s can hang our hats on is that it was produced by Fanshawe College alumnist Garth Richardson, who is the son of Canadian producer Jack Richardson.
I have owned this album since 1996 and I have never grow’n tired of it. It always gets a frequent listen when I am doing something and I want to hear some good angry political music. This is despite that I absolutely can’t stand politics because of what it is and what it does to people, who become politicians.
If you don’t have this album in your collection and you are a fan of rock or heavy metal, I insist you get it in whatever format you choose. You can get it physically and as a digital download from iTunes. There is also the 20th anniversary edition which I don’t have because it doesn’t have everything I want on it, such as the studio version of Darkness Of Greed from The Crow soundtrack in 1994. However, I’m happy with just the original album in my collection and that’s okay with me..