Rage Against The Machine Albums
With their fierce blend of left-wing polemic, hip-hop, hardcore and thrash, the five Rage Against the Machine albums brought a unique minority voice into the white-break world of rock and roll and changed the sound of alternative radio in the process. Brewed from the influences of the band's two main voices, vocalist Zach De La Rocha and guitarist Tom Morello, these Rage Against the Machine albums brought punk politics to the mainstream and hip-hop to rock. Here are the five Rage Against the Machine albums recorded before the band's initial break-up.
- "Rage Against the Machine" The self-titled debut is most fans' favorite of the Rage Against the Machine albums since nothing had sounded like it before. Opening with the stellar statement-of-purpose "Bombtrack," the album is full of classics, from the band's first recorded song, "Bullet in the Head," to the towering riff-rocker "Wake Up." Tom Morello's unique guitar heroics, through a battery of effects and amps, became evident on the anthemic "Know Your Enemy."
- "Evil Empire" Fans had to wait four years for the 1996 follow-up to the debut. A more polished, cohesive sound works wonders on the music coming out of the speakers, but the songs aren't quite as good as on the first of the Rage Against the Machine albums, with the exception of the fantastic singles "People of the Sun" and "Bulls on Parade" and the blistering "Down Rodeo," an indictment of white Westside Los Angeles.
- "The Battle of Los Angeles" Another long wait, three years this time, preceded the third of the Rage Against the Machine albums. It may be their most consistent overall, with a definite groove to songs like "Calm Like a Bomb" and "Born of a Broken Man." Radio and MTV hits "Sleep Now in the Fire," "Testify" and "Guerrilla Radio" ensured the band's populist message was reaching the people.
- "Renegades" This covers album, with the band taking on songs that influenced the music of other Rage Against the Machine albums and songs, is the first true miss in their discography. While covers like "The Ghost of Tom Joad" by Bruce Springsteen and a rock version of Cypress Hill's hip-hop tract "How I Could Just Kill a Man" bring something new to the songs, others, like the MC5's "Kick Out the Jams," simply imitate and don't live up. This is definitely the weakest of the Rage Against the Machine albums.
- "Live at the Grand Olympic Auditorium" Released after the band's break-up, this posthumous live collection is likely the last of all Rage Against the Machine albums to see the light of day. As a document for fans, it is valuable, offering blistering live takes on some favorites, but newcomers would be better served to start from the beginning with the self-titled debut or the third of the Rage Against the Machine albums to see what the band was really about.