1. Your Time Has Come 2. Out Of Exile 3. Be Yourself 4. Doesn't Remind Me 5. Drown Me Slowly
6. Heaven's Dead 7. The Worm 8. Man Or Animal 9. Yesterday To Tomorrow 10. Dandelion
11. #1 Zero 12. The Curse
Label: Interscope Records / Release Date: May 24, 2005 / Overall rating: 5
I'm still trying to figure it out.
Rage Against The Machine wasn't just a band, they were a sizzling hot branding iron across the ass of a stagnant rock scene caught in an "alternative" rut. They were a band with such a deep groove that I felt like it was digging a moat around me, and encapsulating my emotions whenever I heard it. Did I expect guitarist Tom Morello, bassist Tim Commerford, and drummer Brad Wilk to hire new singer Chris Cornell and continue with that same intensity? In many ways I did. Cornell is one of the most talented singers in the world. There was no reason to believe that his contributions would do anything but enhance an already powerful machine. So why do I nearly vomit when I hear songs like "Doesn't Remind Me" from this release? I guess I didn't expect the groove and "in-your-face" intensity to take a backseat to the bouncy hayride that is this song. Now, this is a song that reminds me of Soundgarden's "Mind Riot" from their "Badmotorfinger" release - a song in which I like. But, what's good for the goose is not always necessarily good for the gander. Just because you like tomatoes, doesn't mean you're going to like ketchup. I might expect a song like this from Soundgarden, but it's a disappointment coming from Audioslave.
Audioslave has brought together four of the most talented musicians in the world. Between Tom Morello's inventive guitar playing, a rhythm section like no other, and a singer that can only be compared with a small handful, Audioslave has the weapons to create another musical revolution. Instead, the band goes through the motions of being just another good rock band. It is just so frustrating to hear this group doing songs like the aforementioned "Doesn't Remind Me," "Heaven's Dead," or even the hit single "Be Yourself." These are all decent songs, but they are songs that come nowhere close to tapping into the core of this band's talent. I mean, any good band in the genre could cut tunes like these - Seether, Incubus, Foo Fighters - you name the decent band and they are all cutting tunes this good. But this is not a decent band, or even a good band - these guys are way beyond all that. They are amazing. Phenomenal even. Or, at least they should be. Nothing off this release succeeds in punching my lights out though. Why is that? Well, it's something that I've seen happen before. Take a band like Journey. A band that was making intelligent, progressive, guitar-based music that women hated. Steve Perry comes in and they make radio friendly chick songs for lots of dough. Genesis: Peter Gabriel builds a dark and beautiful, theatrical art rock vehicle, only to have his drummer take the mic and drive them into a Land Of Confusion . . . again, for lots of dough. Why should Audioslave be any different? Granted, Chris Cornell is a million times the singer that former Rage frontman Zach De La Rocha was. Cornell has a pure, genuine, trained voice that can amaze - Zach was a screamer. But what it comes down to is this: Pavarotti is a bit more of a singer than James Hetfield, but I don't want him fronting Metallica. You know what I mean?
I'm not going to tell you that this thing stinks, because it doesn't. I just wanted it to be supercharged. I wanted my fists to control the rest of my body. I wanted that Rage groove to carve a hole straight through my heart. I wanted to hear the slightly out-of-control, unorthodox screeching and screaming of Morello's instrument. Other than a few sparks, none of that happened for me here. Songs like "Your Time Has Come," "Drown Me Slowly," and "The Worm" provided some hip spasms and head bobbing, and the title track almost caused me to actually thrash around my living room. So, things are not a total loss, but they never get anywhere near the greatness that could have been achieved. I think it was Tom Morello that wanted to make it clear when this band got together that it wasn't just Rage Against The Machine with a different singer, and I really had trouble seeing it any different . . . until now. This is definitely not Rage Against The Machine, but it may qualify as Soundgarden with a different guitarist and rhythm section. I hear a lot of you saying, "Why can't he just see them as Audioslave and stop comparing them to their former bands?" Well, I'm going to start doing just that. I will group them together with all of the other twenty million average bands of the genre, and throw this one in the cut out bin. Why keep hanging out for these guys to make something amazing happen just because I'm familiar with all of their names. It's time for me to give up hope on these guys and start looking for a Zach De La Rocha album to save me. me to give up hope on these guys and start looking for a Zach De La Rocha album to save me.