RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE — Rage Against the Machine (review)

RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE — Rage Against the Machine album cover Album · 1992 · Rap Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
J-Man
Although rap and metal are often seen as polar opposites from both musical and cultural standpoints, it was only a matter of time before the two styles came together to form a killer album. While the genres had flirted with each other in the past, Rage Against the Machine's iconic debut was the first to really solidify 'rap metal' as a genre. Combining the lyrical delivery and and rhythmic phrasings of hip hop with the heavy riffs associated with metal, this observation is a stunning example of political frustration and angst that spoke to listeners back in 1992, and still stands as one of the most important albums from the early nineties'. Rage Against the Machine would, unfortunately, help pave the way for hordes of mediocre nu-metal acts over the next decade, but I wouldn't recommend discarding this masterpiece because of that - this one is essential listening for any open minded metal fan.

On this album, Rage Against the Machine primarily combines heavy and groovy metal riffs with emotionally charged rapping from Zack de la Rocha. His lyrics are extremely political and left-of-center, and though more conservative listeners might not like the band's message, I can't imagine too many staunch religious conservatives having interest in this style of music anyway. The tracks here criticize nationalism, American consumerism, religion, obedience to ideologies, and just about anything else 'traditional', all with a very rebellious attitude. I could see the lyrics here striking some people as over-the-top and overly rooted in teen angst, but I think they are a large part of what makes Rage Against the Machine's debut charming, even if they lack a bit in the subtlety department.

The album's strongest asset is probably in its riffs, however. Much like the classic Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin records, Rage Against the Machine is a nonstop bombardment of powerful riffs with irresistible groove. It's tough not to headbang at least once in each of the tracks here, and songs like “Bombtrack”, “Killing In the Name”, “Wake Up”, and “Township Rebellion” especially stand out as highlights. The riffs are groovy as hell, and the totally defiant lyrics make this the perfect album to rock out to whenever school or work have got you down. Tom Morello also delivers some really great solos throughout the record, and in addition to having some solid technique, his quirky phrasing and note choice makes his style stand out from the crowd.

When you top it all off with tight musicianship and audiophile-quality production, it's hard not to fall in love with Rage Against the Machine's clever riff structures and angst-ridden attitude. The only potential flaw I see in this album is that it doesn't have much in the way of dynamic variation, but I personally think that the observation's strict adherence to killer riffs and furious vocals makes for a coherent listen from start to finish - when the riffs are as catchy as they are here, it's nearly impossible to complain about the band's heavy reliance on them. Rage Against the Machine is an essential purchase for anybody wondering what 'rap metal' sounds like when done right, and it's also one of the most enjoyable albums in my collection. Highly recommended!
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more than 2 years ago
I think it's one of the most important albums from the 90s alternative metal era... and definitely one of the best albums from that era, too.
UMUR wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Well to be honest I haven´t listened much/enough to the album. It´s my wife´s CD copy that we still own and the vinyl copy I inherited from a friend last year. Of course I´ve listened to it, but not enough to really be able to review it. I´ll get to it sometime in the future.
J-Man wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on the album at some point! :-)
UMUR wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Yeah it is a really great sound production.
J-Man wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I'd really like to get this on vinyl at some point... the production here is almost absurdly perfect!
UMUR wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I have this one on both vinyl and CD...none of them were actually purchased by me though. As you write one of the most important albums of the nineties...

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