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Evil Empire

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(301 Reviews)

Metal Album Reviews[RSS]

  • I was going to review this album but listen for yourself (to the samples) and you’ll see how great it is.

    I was going to review it and then I did a bad thing, I read that USELESS editorial review.





    Posted on February 7, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Many reviewers here suggest that RATM’s first album was their best, but I disagree. In my opinion, the first album suffered from predictable riffs (actually a common problem with this band – they rely way too much on basic blues-scale riffs) and excessively trite, junior-high-civics level lyrics. YES, it was performed by first-rate musicians whose passion and energy rivaled that of any band on the planet! But at the end of the day… their debut was still not that inovative, aside from Tom Morello’s guitar sound.

    But with Evil Empire, Rage took a daring new approach: cut back (almost eliminate) any conventional guitar solo, and slow the groove a bit. The result is a collection of songs that have a much more unique sound. There is nothing on the debut that is as distinctive-sounding as “Wind Below”; “People of The Sun” and “Bulls On Parade” find Morello unleashing ever-more-insane guitar sounds, which perfectly suit the songs; and “Down Rodeo” features Zack at his most self-righteous, but he doesn’t cross over into the kind of empty cliche-mongering that marred the debut.

    Overall, this is the most unusual of Rage’s three proper “albums.” (Renegades should be considered apart from the three self-composed releases) They took the most chances, musically, and for this I consider it their finest hour.

    Posted on February 7, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Evil Empire lacks the intensty of Rage’s self-titled and Battle of LA, but still packs a powerful punch. Brad Wilk’s drum work on Evil Empire is amazing, and the best work he has done in any of Rage’s four albums. Tim Commerford has fanatastic baselines all throughout Evil Empire (i.e. Without a face, Snakecharmer, and Roll Right). His work doesn’t stand out as much compared to Take the Power Back or Calm like a bomb, but after a few listens, the bass stands out more and more; and that is not a bad thing. And then their is Tom Morello’s distortions, they also don’t stand out as much at first, but they still are great. The guitar in Bulls on Parade, Tire me, Without a face are fantastic. And their is the unique use of the guitar in the last track, Year of Tha Boomerang, which adds to the greatness of Morello. Evil Empire also proves that Zack de la Rocha could be superstar in the rap scene. His lyrics are creative, and his delivery is perfect.
    My favorite tracks: Bulls on Parade, Snakecharmer, Tire me, Down Rodeo, and Without a face.

    Posted on February 7, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Say whatever you will about Rage Against the Machine’s political agenda; whether it was dead on the money or misguided is up to the listener, but what can be agreed on is “Evil Empire”, Rage’s long awaited follow up to their groundbreaking self titled debut album, is a great headbanging album that displays the band’s talents at they’re full extents. Vocalist Zack De La Rocha can rap as furious as any hip hopper, and sounds better on here than he did on the self titled album. Guitarist Tom Morello, bassist Tim Commorford, and drummer Brad Wilk round out the rhythm section, all of which are fantastic musicians (although I liked Morello’s solos better on the first album), and adrenaline charged songs like “People of the Sun”, “Bulls on Parade”, “Vietnow”, and “Tire Me” are all great songs, maybe some of Rage’s best, but “Evil Empire” is best listened to for the band itself, not any kind of political agenda. Eventually Zack would leave the band in 2000, and the rest of the band would form Audioslave with former Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell; and Rage is sadly missed by their loyal following of fans. All in all, “Evil Empire” is a great album, but I suggest checking out Rage’s debut first, an album that is more focused lyrically and musically than any other album in Rage’s catalog.

    Posted on February 7, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Sophomore albums can be tricky, but the band only goes through a sophomore slump if their debut was a success. This was the case with Rage Against the Machine; their self-entitled, 1992 debut was a great one, so Rage had to be careful when it came time to write the new album. But great bands do great things, so “Evil Empire” was another great album.

    RATM were a great band on several different levels. They formed to spread Zach de la Rocha’s political message, but since they (especially guitarist Tom Morello) are such great musicians, the were capable of appealing to everybody, including those who didn’t agree with their lyrics. That’s how I became a fan, actually; I heard their songs on the radio and I thought they sounded awesome, so I picked up their C.D.’s. And only then did I start to pay attention to, contemplate and appreciate the lyrics.

    But Zach and Tom were also great because they were so innovative and influential. Zach was about the first vocalist to meld rap and rock…but he sure wasn’t the last. And, if you listen closely enough, you’ll hear a lot of bands (bands from Limp Bizkit to Meshuggah) imitate Tom Morello’s picking.

    I believe Rage Against the Machine were a hard rock band because they were always inspired by something, and always pissed off. This may explain why Audioslave is almost an alternative metal band (they don’t have as nearly as much anger to vent). And it’s too bad Audioslave is quite a bit softer, because I think Tom was meant to play hard rock. It’s also too bad that Rage disbanded, because, with recent events, I’m sure Zach de la Rocha would have plenty of things to write and rap about.

    “People of the Sun” has a famous opening guitar riff and an unusually loud, beeping bass. Zach eventually launches into the first verse, which is a very political tirade about the Mexican people’s revolution against the government. Tom makes some sound effects, letting Zach run wild-filling this song to the brim with angry rapping. This is more of a rap song than metal.
    -Best lyric: “Yea, never forget that the whip snapped ya back/ya spine cracked for tobacco.”
    “Bulls on Parade” is one of Rage’s most recognizable songs. It has groovy, “ner nah ner” sounding guitar noise, which periodically change to wah-wah guitar riffs, and more pissed off rapping (about people who run around shooting everybody else). The real highlight to me, here, is the guitar solo. What is that guy doing to his fret board?!
    -Best lyric: “They don’t gotta burn the books/they just remove `em”
    “Revolver” begins with a low, humming noise, before the guitars and the beat explode around forty seconds in. Zach is, at first, almost whispering, and I enjoy the almost galloping beat which leads into the chorus (which has some downshifting riffs and more of Zach’s famous yells). I also enjoy the ten second, thumping bass drum solo following the second chorus.
    -Best lyric: “Hey revolver/don’t mothers make good fathers?”
    “Snakecharmer” is very catchy. It has a lunging beat with stop-start riffs, at the end of which Zach yells “Yeah!” Plus, there’s a small hand drum solo thrown in, as well.
    “Tire Me” has another great, bending, up and down guitar solo,
    and “Down Rodeo” has catchy, beeping guitar riffs and another audible, lowly rumbling bass. Zach does his usual thing in this song, but then a great, abrupt beat change kicks in and Zach starts yelling “Just a quiet, peaceful death!”
    -Best lyric: “These people ain’t seen a brown-skinned man since their grandparents bought one.”

    So, “Evil Empire” is another classic, standard setting album which finely displays Rage’s talent. Ultimately, it’s not as groundbreaking as their debut, it’s (musically) not a big step forward from their debut, and it is, in my opinion, RATM’s least inspired disc. Even still, “EE” is an excellent C.D. and I recommend it to all hard rock/rapcore/political rock fans. So what’s that say for this band–that “Evil Empire” might be their worst disc, but it’s still great? It means that they were a truly great band which lead a remarkable and nearly flawless career.

    Posted on February 7, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now