Rage Against the Machine Reviews

The Battle Of Los Angeles
(Epic/Sony, CD)

THE corrupt suit-and-tie establishment who foolishly assumed that the revolution died with a 27-year-old grubby, Converse-sneaker-wearing guitar player on April 5, 1994, are in for the fright of their lives. Just when you thought it was safe to come out into the open, Rage Against The Machine are taking up from where Kurt Cobain left off. And they're using their latest album, The Battle of Los Angeles, as the weapon to drive home the point.

Recorded in less than a month, Battle is this Californian band's most focussed outing since the 1992 eponymous debut. From the opening riffs of Mic Check to the single Guerrilla Radio, all the way to the curtain closer, War Within A Breath, the album wrenches you away from the comfort zone and brings you face to face with the manic and merciless ferocity of frontman Zack de la Rocha.

De la Rocha has always been at his most intense when he's waging war on established society and Battle allows him more than enough room to run riot. Of course, the government is once again the target of his aggression. But that's to be expected. After all, putting a microphone in this guy's hand is like handing a gun to Charlie Manson. Someone's bound to get hurt. The only difference is that here, the victims are, for the most part, guilty as charged.

Yet, while de la Rocha deserves credit for crafting some of the most thought provoking verses in recent memory, Battle would not be the gem it is without the extraordinary vision and furious fret work of guitarman Tom Morello. Together with Timmy C (bass) and Brad Wilk (drums), Morello elevates this album from a very good record to one of the most important albums of the last decade.

On Mic Check, de la Rocha, beaten to submission but antagonistic as ever, grudgingly admits that who controls the past now, controls the future. But who controls the future now, you ask? Why, Rage Against The Machine, of course! Was there any doubt? -- EDWARD GOMEZ

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