Rage Against the Machine - The Battle of Los Angeles - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Rage Against the Machine - The Battle of Los Angeles

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:1999-11-02

Having successfully fused music and politics from their start, inspiring both moshing and young minds in the process, Rage Against the Machine emerge in peak form with merely their third album in seven years. Guitarist Tom Morello is one of the most distinctive and innovative players of his era, and his foil, vocalist/lyricist Zack De La Rocha, is as unrelenting and inspiring as ever on The Battle of Los Angeles. Rage, whose past antics include performing naked with duct tape over their mouths to protest censorship, released Battle on Election Day in the US, but the politics of the group can be separated from the sounds. Indeed, the 45 minutes of mayhem heard here can be enjoyed solely as rousing aggro hip-hop rock. There's more variety found on Battle than on its predecessors, however. "Sleep Now In The Fire" is one of their most straight-ahead rock tunes, while the trippy guitar on "Calm Like A Bomb" is out there even for the adventurous Morello and "Born a Broken Man" serves up lovely musical interludes. Overall, the more finely honed Rage heard on Battle may not inspire a generation of young revolutionaries, but they still stir up more mutinous spirit than the rest of the current rock pack. --Katherine Turman

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