Rage Against The Machine - Rage Against The Machine
Epic Records
Rap Metal
10 songs (52:56)
Release year: 1992
Rage Against The Machine, Epic Records
Reviewed by Khelek
Archive review

Rage Against The Machine is known far and wide as one of the first bands to make rap metal popular. Bombtrack, the first song off their debut self-titled album, gets straight to the point of what this band is about. The guitar riffs are heavy and groovy, the basslines are catchy, and the vocals of Zach de la Rocha are intense with a quickness that shows off his hip-hop roots. The band may be most well-known for their somewhat controversial political ideals and while I do not agree with every message they throw out there, I am still able to enjoy the music because above it all I hear the raw emotion and talent that they bring to the table in every single song. Formed in 1991 in Los Angeles, California, the band has produced 4 full length albums in a little over 8 years. This is their first album, released in 1992 on Epic Records and it remains possibly their greatest achievement, at least in this reviewer's opinion.

Bombtrack starts out with the unforgettable bassline that comes before the explosion of heavy guitar groove and thick drumming. Zach de la Rocha's vocals come quick and mixed perfectly with the instruments, not overpowering them nor getting lost behind them. It is impossible for me not to at least tap my foot along to this song. The second track, Killing In The Name, is one of the first RATM songs that I ever heard and it immediately got me hooked on them. The infectious grooviness of the guitars and the anger that you can feel in the vocals make this a song that I could not forget. Take The Power Back is where de la Rocha really begins to express his hip-hop roots that can be heard in his quick rap styled vocals, the basswork of Tim Crommerford and guitar of Tom Morello creating a great beat for the lyrics to go to. Morello also throws in a nice guitar solo that makes this a really stellar example of the RATM sound. The softer interlude towards the end is also a nice touch. An interesting thing to me is that while the band does pay homage to rap and hip-hop in many songs, they also refuse to use any samples or synthesizers. Settle For Nothing is a much mellower track, uses a simple clean electric guitar for the verse and heavy, dragging riffs with the punkish, raw vocals. Know Your Enemy begins with interesting guitar work and catchy drum and bass work. I think the distortion on the guitar here also complements the somewhat grungy feeling of this song. Wake Up, famously known as the song that closes out the excellent cyberpunk film The Matrix, is just another example of what the band can do. The intensity of the songwriting is only outdone by the intensity of the band members. In the final track, simply entitled Freedom, the band gives another example of exactly what their music is about. The rhythm is catchy and infectious and the lyrics of de la Rocha go perfectly with the quick stop and go guitar work of Morello.

Rage Against The Machine destroyed all former conceptions of the relationship between rap and metal, and in their debut album no less. They are able to blend these two styles, with other influences, into a completely new entity that sounds great and also presents the listener with a strong message. The cover of the album, a powerful picture of a monk self-immolating in protest of the oppression in Vietnam, sums up much of the message the band wants to get across through their music. The lyrics are hard-hitting and extremely well written, and even if you don't agree with their message, you can at least appreciate the amount of work that went into writing and recording this album. Every song has its own character, yet they all flow together perfectly and the band plays like they've been doing this since birth. There is honestly not one song on this album that I do not remember and enjoy. How many other bands can say they have recorded an album like that? Not many.

Killing Songs :
Impossible to pick some above others
Khelek quoted 96 / 100
Adam quoted 90 / 100
Goat quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Rage Against The Machine that we have reviewed:
Rage Against The Machine - The Battle of Los Angeles reviewed by Charles and quoted 88 / 100
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