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Out of Exile

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Japanese only SHM-CD (Super High Material CD – playable on all CD players) pressing. Universal. 2008.In what was widely predicted to be a short-lived supergroup/side-project, Audioslave has instead gratifyingly yielded a bonafide band. The follow-up to their promising, if not quite artistically congealed ’02 debut finds singer/songwriter Chris Cornell contributing a slate of songs that would have done his former Soundgarden proud, while guitarist Tom Morello and his former Rage Against the Machine bandmates cast them in a focused rhythmic groove that suggests that the old school can still yield a timely lesson or two. Cornell’s best songs may still lurk in the shadows (the funeral hypno-blues of ”Heaven’s Dead,” the martial metal of antiwar opener ”Your Time Has Come,” ”The Worm” as anthem for self-loathing), yet they’re now brightened with such surprisingly sunny fare as ”Dandelion,” ”Doesn’t Remind Me”’s charged, existentialist daydream and even a hook-rich, dangerously optimistic back-to-the-future power ballad in ”Be Yourself.” Morello’s work on the title track and elsewhere is a study in taste and less-is-more efficiency, a telling hint of how forcefully these iconic ’90s stars have sublimated their egos as their new music has blossomed; who said there are no second acts in American (rock) lives? –Jerry McCulley

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  • Chris is singing more like he did with Soundgarden and the rest of the band made changes to accommodate (chicken or the egg) but that doesen’t mean they sound like Soundgarden. They sound like Audioslave. Very solid album. Pick up an electric guitar Chris!!!

    Posted on February 17, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Don’t listen to the people who like to hear themselves talk about how this album is sub-standard. Chris Cornell shines in his own way as usual and the past Rage Against the Machine members are also strong throughout. The writing is solid and the chemistry between the members of the band is evident.

    In the past I was more of a Soundgarden fan than a Rage fan. Trust me, there’s no sense in comparing this group to the past bands. This is a good album in it’s own right and yes, even if they weren’t past members of these bands this CD would still get looked at. Why? Chris is a unique and distinct vocalist. So are his lyrics. Tom Morello is a unique and distinct guitarist. You can’t get around that.

    If you are a fan of the genre and if you are at all a fan of the previous album then you should definitely pick this one up. If you aren’t familiar with these guys, pick it up and get back in touch with your rock and roll roots.

    From one person who likes good rock and roll to another or to someone still getting into it, check it out. And let yourself enjoy it free of comparisons and reviews rife with obnoxious vocabulary.

    Posted on February 16, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I like a good heavy rock song as much as the next guy, and Audioslave supplies a lot of those on Out of Exile. For example, something like “Drown Me Slowly” is a powerful piece of music, complete with head-banging guitar riffs and a muscular lead vocal by Chris Cornell. But what’s unique and excellent about Audioslave is how they write and perform actual melodies, and they also have the ability to mix in a variety of volumes and tempos. It’s not just all full-gale hurricane all of the time. Even on the same mighty tune, “Drown Me Slowly,” there is a slower, softer bridge with Cornell almost crooning. And the very next song, “Heavens Dead,” is bit more down-tempo (while still possessing its share of hard rhythms and crunching electric guitars). I came to this “Rage Against The Garden” band from the Soundgarden side, and I always liked the ‘Garden’s ability to mix it up, as shown on a slower but still very strong song like “Black Hole Sun.” Audioslave has got the same kind of mojo working with their material. It’s a great listen, from a very solid bunch of musicians.

    Posted on February 16, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Out of Exile
    As the final song in Out of Exile marches its way through the speakers, you receive a strong sense of déjà vu, almost as though it was the ending song played as the credits of a movie roll across the screen. It was a movie you have experinced many mixed emotions with, but in the end it was incredibly satisfying.

    Thus is the story so far with Audioslave, the Soundgarden + Rage Against the Machine incarnation, and the trend continues with their sophmore effort, Out of Exile. After a steller first effort, which has been overly and unfairly critisized, I came into Out of Exile with expectations sky high. Unlike many fans, I was not around in the hey-day of Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine and have since been turned on to their music through Audioslave, and not the reverse. Therefore, I have the intriuging ability to examin Audioslave based not on what they have done in their segragated pasts, but only against their potiential in the future.

    With that being said, Out of Exile is good album, no, a great album. At first I was a little disapointed. I had dove headlong into their self-titled debut without a single seed of anticipation and loved every minute of it. This album, however, I had been anticipating for months and was expecting, and demanding, an instant classic. What I found, at least a first listen, was an unoriginal, strictly formualic, and somewhat disapointing sequal to what was a fantastic first effort. The songs all seemed to be lacking that certain freshness that the first had so eagerly accepted. The first single, “Be Yourself,” was generic, formualic, and about as predictable as any other radio friendly song that dominates the rock charts nowadays. Many of the songs were also disapointingly simple, a surprising move by Chris Cornell, who has been known for his deep, if inaccessable lyrics. “Doesn’t Remind Me,” is in a fact nothing more than a list of things Cornell likes because, they don’t remind him of anything. And, at first listen, nearly all the more Rage-esq rockers such as “Drown Me Slowly,” and “Man or Animal,” sounded terribly mechanical. But after being able to listen through the album muliple times, I can safely say that this an exceptional 50 minutes of music.

    Like all good rock and roll, this album requires time to set in. As the initial disapointment faded to tolerance and then to acceptance, I came to realize just how strong of a set this is. The most noticable difference from the first was just in it’s overaul feel. Out of Exile has a much tighter structure to it, making for a smooth and beautiful flow. The band still follows the strict Verse-Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus-Solo-Conclusion formula, but every song is worked to perfection. The voice of Chris Cornell is matched only by the outrageous guitar playing of Tom Morrello and there are times when it almost seems as if the two are trying to out-do each other. It is, however, on the occasions when they truly merge together, that a glimpse of the future is seem, and it is a bright future indeed. When the complete marriage of Cornell and Morello, Voice and Instrument, is attained the result is an absolutely stunning display of what music should sound like.

    The band’s amplified unity and confidence in each other is also readily apparent throughout the album, and every one of the twelve songs could be a new single. Out of Exile has managed to expose the softer and even blissful nature of the band that was only touched on in their debut. Songs such as Dandelion, an obvious and inspirational ode to Cornell’s newly born daughter convey this newfound sense of peace and optimism. Not to disapoint fans of their more Rage-esq tunes, this album rocks just as hard as the first. Highlighted by such headbangers as “Your Time has Come,” “The Worm,” and the title track, “Out of Exile,” Audioslave has still managed to channel their rage, despite its ever loosening hold on them. Cornell’s continued dabblings in blues are present as well in the mournful melodies “Heavens Dead,” and “#1 Zero.” The true strengh of the album, however, lies in its almost 80s like power ballads, which are reminisent of the great bands of the past. Its difficult to put into words the magnificence and power of the tracks “Yesterday to Tommorrow,” and “The Curse,” their cool beauty is just something that you’ll have to hear for yourself.

    Yet dispite the overall maturity of the band and the undeniable greatness of this album, I still feel like there is so much more to come from Audioslave. Chris Cornell has been quoted to say that he wants to turn out albums on a rapid yearly basis, like the some of the great bands of old. But to reach the upper echelon of the immortal bands of the past, Audioslave needs to take that step into the unknown. The need to break the formula – tried and true though it is – has never been more dire, and to have already been so great, Audioslave has barely begun to tap into their vast potential.

    People complain that Audioslave lacks a certain unplacable something, that they are nothing more than a wild experiment in the soundscape of rock. The truth is there are times when they sound like Soundgarden, times when they sound like Rage, and even times when they sound like U2 or Zeppelin, but in the their second effort, Audioslave finally just sounds like Audioslave. Chris Cornell has cemented his status as one rock and roll’s great vocalists, and Tom Morello’s guitar playing will take you out of this world. And even if they never break the mold, even if they continue to put out albums like Out of Exile that only touch on greatness, I will thrilled. For Audioslave has arrived and is hear to stay, this may not be Soundgarden, and this may not be Rage, but this is damn good rock and roll from four of the best in the business.

    Posted on February 16, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • A few years ago when it was announced that former Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell would be joining forces with three quarters of Rage Against The Machine (after the departure of singer Zack de la Rocha) expectations were high. Rage Against The Machine and Soundgarden had been two of the best rock bands from the 1990s and the public was eager to hear what kind of collaboration this new supergroup would make. Would this supergroup, Audioslave, live up to the hype? For the most part, the answer was a resounding yes. Audioslave delivered. While some RATM and Soundgarden fans alike were disappointed, Audioslave’s self-titled debut was a strong collection of songs that pleased most fans.

    Now, almost three years later, Audioslave is back for their second release “Out of Exile” an album that surpasses the debut. Although Audioslave’s self-titled debut is a strong album, when it was recorded, Chris Cornel was still new to the rest of the band-guitarist Tom Morello, bassist Tim Commerford, and drummer Brad Wilk. Now, after three years of touring and already having one album under their belt, the band seems to have really jelled. All four members seem to have found a common ground and found what works and sounds best for the group as a whole. Audioslave seems more like a band now than just a supergroup, or an all-star collaboration of 90s alt. rock superstars.

    “Out of Exile” is essentially a straight-ahead rock album, with a real classic rock feel. This is hardly surprising when you consider that although Rage Against The Machine incorporated elements of rap and hip-hop into their formula, a lot of their riffs were firmly rooted in classic rock. And as was the case with the debut, the band has, for the most part, written songs more on the melodic side, to fit the style of the soulful Chris Cornell, as opposed to the rap/hip-hop styling of Zack de la Rocha. But as was the case with the debut, the band hasn’t abandoned their sound. You can definitely hear Rage Against The Machine in Audioslave, it’s just that the rap/hip elements have been left behind and a more classic rock sound has been embraced. As previously stated, the band seems to have really jelled, so the songs on “Out of Exile” sound tighter than those on the debut and the band seems more focused. In short, compared to the debut, “Out of Exile” is a leaner, meaner album.

    All twelve tracks on “Out of Exile” are quite strong. It’s pretty much all killer and no filler. The CD has a good pace and never runs out of stream or looses momentum. Some of the songs, like the opening fast-paced “Your Time has Come, “Out of Exile” and “Man or Animal” sound very RATM-ish and probably could have been re-worked for Zack de la Rocha. These songs should please fans who have been missing RATM. Some of the album is more melodic, like the tuneful “Be Yourself,” “Don’t Remind Me” and the gorgeous “Dandelion.” Fans of Soundgarden/Chris Cornell should be pleased with those. But all of the songs are tinged with elements of classic rock. “The Worm” actually sounds somewhat similar to Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog,” off their “ZOSO” album. So whether you’re primarily a fan of Rage, Chris Cornell/Soundgarden or classic rock, there is something on “Out of Exile” for everyone.

    Tom Morello has proved to be one of the best guitarists of the last twenty years. He’s not only technically a solid player, but he has also come up with some of the catchiest and creative riffs in years. With “Out of Exile,” Morello has come up with a new batch of songs that both bare his signature and expand upon his previous work. Morello has always had a knack for coming up with catchy and creative riffs, that sound both fresh and unique. His fans will not be let down with this release.

    Bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk have shown to be one of the most exciting and dynamic rhythm sections of the last twenty years. They have proved to be more than just the backdrop to let Morello do his thing. Their playing is thoroughly commanding, electrifying, and intense. They were essential to Rage’s, and now Audioslave’s sound.

    Vocalist Chris Cornell has been universally hailed as one of the best singers in rock. And while he is undoubtedly a great singer, he is also a gifted songwriter. The chemistry between Cornell and the rest of the band has grown stronger and his soulful delivery seems well-suited for the classic rock styling of Morello. Although in all honesty, Cornell is not quite the singer that he once was. He still has a fine voice, but it seems strained at times. He can’t quite make those screams the way he used to.

    While “Out of Exile” isn’t quite up there with such classics as “Rage Against The Machine” (1992), “The Battle of Los Angeles” (1999), “Badmotorfinger” (1991), or “Superunknown” (1994), it’s still a very strong album. If you liked RATM, Soundgarden, or Audioslave’s debut, you should be pleased with this one.

    Posted on February 16, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now