|2. Show Me How To Live|
|4. What You Are|
|5. Like A Stone|
|6. Set It Off|
|7. Shadow On The Sun|
|8. I Am The Highway|
|11. Bring Em Back Alive|
|12. Light My Way|
|13. Getaway Car|
|14. The Last Remaining Light|
Strangely I've read the odd review slating the lyrics as OTT, which to me is completely ridiculous. Yes, a lot of the lines are very reaching psychedelically, but with Chris Cornell's voice sounding better (and showing better range than ever before), it's so right! Anyway, slagging off they lyrics just points back to the original naysayers looking for flaws.
So, to the music. Tom Morello said a while back that this album would show how wrong people are to suggest that rock returned with chumps like The Vines, and how right he was. The opening track sets the tone, sounding a perfect amalgamation of RATM and Soundgarden. 'Cochise' has to be one of the best opening tracks to an album ever, with Cornell's voice the absolute epitomy of 'rock vocals' while the frenzied drumming and ever present guitar creat a truly brilliant tune.
Tracks like 'Gasoline', 'What You Are' and (next single) 'Like a Stone' continue in this vein, until you get to 'I Am the Highway'. This song is the business, the kind of rock (I'm loathe to say this) 'ballad' that just isn't around these days. Cornell's voice is at it's most sensitive here and, coupled with some of the aforementioned lyrics ("I am not your autumn moon, I am the night") this is an epic rock tune in the finest 70s mould. As a single, it could potentially be huge.
With tunes like 'Light my Way' and 'Last Remaining Light' to come, there's enough variety here to suggest a long career for Audioslave. Every part of the group seems to have had an equal say so that while you'll recognise RATM and Soundgarden, this is unmistakably something else. Something better in my opinion and, considering Superunknown and RATM's debut in their back catalogues, that about sums up this album.
One final thought is that, obviously just in my opinion, what makes this album is Chris Cornell. They guy is a total one off with a voice that suggests he could rip your head off one minute and recite poetry with the next. The best rock vocals of a generation.
So, in conclusion, go buy the album. It's fresh and important.
Produced by Rick Rubin, who also produced the final Rage Against the Machine album, “Renagades”, along with such fare as the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ 1991 mega-seller “Blood Sugar Sex Magik”, the album is an eclectic brew which manages to retain a cohesive identity. Rubin brings out the best in his charges, and it seems they bring out the best in one another, pushing themselves and their bandmates to new heights of endeavour. Cornell has never screamed better (or more often), but there’s a light and shade, a maturity to be found in his vocal performances that was sorely lacking from 1999’s pin-up album “Euphoria Morning”. Guitarist Tom Morello also shines, his trademark rhythmic dissonance and almost Dadaist approach to guitar soloing joined here by playing of remarkable emotional depth. Who would have thought that the man who gave us “Bombtrack” could also play the blues? “Audioslave” demonstrates that indeed he can. It would seem churlish, having praised Cornell and Morello so highly, to neglect the bedrock upon which this remarkable album is built. Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk have always been a rhythm section of seismic impact, but here they are given room to stretch and groove in a way more smooth than earthy. Commerford’s basslines have an elasticity about them and Wilk’s drumming an adventurousness that RATM’s message-not-the-medium approach simply didn’t have room for.
To sum up, “Audioslave” is more than fans could have hoped for. While the faithful of RATM may miss Zack de la Rocha’s reactionary rapping, and Soundgarden devotees may miss the skewed-meter acrobatics of that act (they went with Matt Cameron; go buy Pearl Jam’s “Riot Act”), Audioslave is neither of these bands, and the stronger for it. The elementary power of Rage’s music is to be found on this record, as is Cornell’s primal roar. But there is more, much more within the grooves or encoded upon the compact disc as zeroes and ones. This album represents a progression for all the musicians involved, a leap into the unknown without a neglecting of the roots. This album is viable, it lives. Let’s hope there’s more to come.
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