All Music Zine

Rage Against the Machine
                         Title:"The Battle of Los Angeles"
                         Label: Epic
                         Reviewed by: Bushman
                         Rating: 4.5 of 5

     It keeps getting better and better. Honestly, there's not a weak track on this whole  album. Considering the legitimacy, intensity and urgency of past endeavors from hard rock's most political mouthpiece, it's nothing short of amazing that Rage Against the Machine can return with such a tight, meaningful slab of opposition and not choke on their own sound. The Machine still Rages with the same super intense climactic rap pushed metal jams dripping with guitar trickery and shake your ass bass that the band has forged from the beginning.
     Rage isn't really exploring any new sonics, rather quite impressively churning out the            dynamic that has served them well in the past so the "Battle of Los Angeles" sounds like a natural extension of the Rage catalog. The most challenging tune is the off timed stumble of "Mic Check" that hits with an intentional "tripping over itself" delivery and makes a critic's pick as it stands out well from the pack. This (as well as most every song here) is put together with a range of ideas that gel together well so the individual numbers are all injected with varying textures and tempos. Keeps the formula fresh.
     "Sleep Now in the Fire" opens with a guitar rip that Lenny Kravitz would be proud of           before falling into a bass/vocal rumble of verse and hits with a meaningful "I am the Nina, the Pinta, The Santa Maria / The noose and the rapist / And the fields overseer / The agents of orange / The priests of Hiroshima / The cost of my desire / Sleep Now in the fire" and then dose the listener with some wicked DJ whines. 
     All respects to guitarist Tom Morello for not only supplying the signature heavy as a heart attack guitar runs, but all those tweaks, squeaks, whines and dives that supply the more intangible guitar textures and backdrops that set up the big cave in choruses that truly rage. And it would be grossly unfair not to mention the low end of "Y.tim.K." drumming of Brad Wilk that supplies the as tight as it gets structure that allows the guitars and vocals their platform to dominate and control the songs.
     Zach de la Rocha is the politically charged powder keg as expected ("Calm like a Bomb") which is a good analogy of his presence as a singer. Zach's true talent is not only his prowess for expressing dissatisfaction rather poetically, but also his ability to accentuate and punctuate with an honorable sense of rhythm that plays in and out of the sticky guitar riffs that makes his presence even more commanding. Which is the tag word for Rage Against the Machine and especially this album. "Commanding."