Rage Against The Machine

(1992), 4.5/10
Rap with guitars existed before Rage Against The Machine; Run D.M.C. effectively pioneered the genre, and bands like Red Hot Chili Peppers and Faith No More also attained popularity. But Rage Against The Machine added a political edge; the Tibetan Monk self-immolation on the cover is only the tip of the iceberg, with Zack de la Rocha’s lyrics addressing US intervention, capitalism, and radical leftist politics, although in a contradiction the band were signed to a major record label. With a powerful, funky rhythm section, and a a very creative guitarist in Tom Morello, the Rage Against The Machine sound is intoxicating.

For one song at a time. ‘Killing In The Name’ is one of the 1990’s great singles, with a pounding riff, a squeaky Morello solo, and memorable coda.

But a full album of De La Rocha yelling political slogans over metallic guitar with no relief and no stylistic variation is like being sand-blasted. In small doses, Rage Against The Machine is invigorating, but a full album at once is mind-numbing.

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