Audioslave - Audioslave
Epic Records
Modern Hard Rock/Metal
14 songs (65'27)
Release year: 2002
Audioslave, Epic Records
Reviewed by Marty
Surprise of the month
Running the risk of getting crucified by the readers, I really feel that this album deserves to be reviewed and also to be listened to. Audioslave is a new band that has received so much media hype over the last year and already, this album has gone platinum in the U.S. (1 million copies sold). The coming together of former Rage Against The Machine members, Tim Commerford, Tom Morello and Brad Wilk with former Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell seemed like the most unlikliest of pairings. Rage Against The Machine released their debut in 1992 and went on to sell 15 million CDs worldwide before their breakup several years ago. The band's blend of punk and hard rock influenced rap metal that was very politically motivated, caught the youth of the world by storm. Soundgarden, on the other hand, besides being one of the biggest and most influential bands from the early 90's Seattle explosion, was a mix of heavy metal, hard rock and featured the unmistakable wail of Chris Cornell. I've always liked Soundgarden and especially Chris Cornell's voice. He sings with so much passion and desperation and is one of those vocalists, love 'em or hate 'em, that is very unmistakeable in his style and delivery. Not really having much use for RATM (however I do respect what they accomplished with their career), I was skeptical about Audioslave.

Produced by veteran producer Rick Rubin (Slayer) and sounding much more like Soundgarden than RATM, Audioslave combines the power and passion of their former bands with a very 70's style single note style guitar riff driven sound. Cochise, Show Me How To Live, Gasoline, Set It Off, Exploder and Bring 'Em Back Alive are all in-your -face heavy songs and feature great big pentatonic riffs that were such a staple of the sound of Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin all through the 70's. I haven't heard such great, catchy and infectious riffs like this in a long time. Some of the weirdness of RATM creeps in as far as some of the strange guitar effects, the funky groove that they had to their songs and the lack of guitar solos in favor of weird riff breaks and other harmonic noises. Most of the tracks feature catchy vocal lines and great choruses and a few tracks feature a mix of quiet, almost melancholic vocal lines and very loud and angry passages. The more laid back style of some of Soundgarden's material from the mid to late 90's is present on a couple of tracks as well and balances out the angry and aggressive tone that's present throughout this album. Chris' voice sounds superb and the band really has a kick-ass sound. It really sounds like this album was recorded with very loud guitars in the studio as the big booming riffs almost seem to explode from your speakers.

Audioslave has succeded in creating a fresh new sound that even though has elements of their previous bands, surges forward and lays the groundwork for what "modern" metal or hard rock should sound like. Rap-metal influences are non-existent and nu-metal styles really take a back seat here in favor of a very heavy, very classic 70's riff driven sound that doesn't seem dated and adds a killer groove to their well written songs. There's a couple of tracks that I can take or leave and I feel that this album is one or two tracks too long. Fourteen songs is a lot to get through to listen to the whole album and the last few, although feature great passionate vocals, really come up short compared to the rest of the album. Omitting a few tracks and rearranging the track order would go a long way into making this an even better album. Otherwise, it's a very heavy, very catchy and interesting result from these veterans. Fans of older Soundgarden, especially Badmotorfinger (my personal fav) will find lots to like with Audioslave. I would recommend checking this one out as it's easy to shrug them off because of who is in the band, but believe me, the end result of this unlikely union is some great music.

Killing Songs :
Cochise, Show Me How To Live, Gasoline, Set It Off, Exploder and Light My Way
Marty quoted 85 / 100
Jay quoted 40 / 100
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