|Rage Against the Machine
Title:"The Battle of Los Angeles"
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.