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Wednesday, November 10, 1999
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Volume 65, Issue 57


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Rage Against the Machine show imitators how to do it on latest CD

The Battle of Los Angeles

Rage Against The Machine
Epic Records
12 tracks; 45:16

Grade: A


By Jesse Lauritz
Daily Cougar Staff 

When you think of Rage Against the Machine, you most likely envision Zack de la Rocha screaming lyrics about political and social issues that exist in the world. The funny thing is, there almost was no Rage Against the Machine at all.

De la Rocha came up with the name Rage when he was the frontman for the hardcore band Inside Out. The band had a song titled "Rage Against the Machine" that also was going to be its second album title.

However, the band broke up and the group never released the album. So, de la Rocha took the name and started his own band when he met up with Harvard graduate Tom Morello.

The band's music began the infamous trend of rock and rap which led to bands like Limp Bizkit and Korn. Rage burst onto the scene with its self-titled debut CD in 1992 that eventually went platinum across the world.

Its second album, Evil Empire, debuted at No. 1 and quickly went platinum with the hit single "Bulls on Parade." That was in 1996.

Rage's goals for its new album, The Battle of Los Angeles, was to put out the best Rage album to date -- and that is exactly what it did. The Battle of Los Angeles has de la Rocha continuing to fire his lyrics into listening ears with rings of classic Rage.

The first single, "Guerilla Radio", attacks you from every angle with brilliant lyrics and a flowing sea of powerful guitar riffs that will keep your ears ringing hours after listening to it.

The lines "It has to start somewhere/It has to start sometime/What better place than here/What better time than now/All hell can't stop us now," show that the world can't stop the band from proclaiming its opinions to the outside world, no matter when it does it or where it does it.

"Voice of the Voiceless" discusses the continuing struggle of Mumia Abu-Jamal. He is sitting on death row and has maintained his innocence since his conviction for the 1981 shooting of a Philadelphia police officer.

He was a former Black Panther and journalist and has been considered an icon by many free speech activists, and a cop killer by others.

"Voice of the Voiceless" features Morello's guitar, playing like bagpipes, while the lyrics ring of the band's continued support for Abu-Jamal. "Through steel walls/Your voice blastin' on/True rebel, my brother Mumia."

"Born of a Broken Man" is one of the best Rage tracks yet. It starts with a sweet and slow introduction, and then kicks into the typical hardcore sound coming from de la Rocha's screaming-from-the-top-of-the-lungs vocals.

Other tracks such as "Born as Ghosts," "Sleep Now in the Fire" and "Ashes in the Fall" have common themes of lyrical references to fire and hunger.

Rage picked the perfect time to release The Battle of Los Angeles. While other bands are taking advantage of the genre started by Rage, the originators release an album that will have rapcore junkies banging their heads until they fall off.
 

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