Saturday, 24 April 2010

CD Review: Audioslave, by Audioslave (2002)

The album Audioslave is proof we can have too much of a good thing.

At 14 full-length tracks and more than 65 minutes of music, the CD is somewhat exhausting and a lot to consume in one spin. Given the quantity and length, it is remarkable that there are no weak tracks to be found; but trimming a few of the more average tracks would have resulted in a stronger package.

The collaboration between Chris Cornell, the former frontman of Soundgarden, and the three non-vocalist members of Rage Against the Machine, results in a somewhat unlikely supergroup. Rage Against the Machine's nu-metal sound was always about anger and confrontation, while Soundgarden where on the slightly heavier side of grunge, not too far removed from depressed introspection.

Under the sharp supervision of producer Rick Rubin, Audioslave the band emerges as a true hybrid, with Cornell's voice to the fore, Tom Morello's innovative guitar prominently delivering mostly controlled riffs and the occasional pyro-show, and the rest of the band in the background. The album is distinctive for delivering emotion: it turns out that Cornell's voice and Morello's guitar were made for each other, and Rubin makes sure that most songs sound simply real.

Audioslave is anchored by the magnificent opener Conchise, a metal assault that would typically only be expected from a veteran band, and Like A Stone, a soaring, emotional, goose-bump generating semi-ballad allowing Cornell, Morello and drummer Brad Wilk to absolutely sparkle. The many other strong tracks include the ballistic Set It Off and the grandly loud Light My Way.

The haunting melody of the Last Remaining Light closes out the long journey of this CD with an appropriately calm, deep breath.


Chris Cornell - Vocals
Tim Commerford - Bass
Brad Wilk -Drums
Tom Morello - Guitars

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Conchise - 10
2. Show Me How To Live - 8
3. Gasoline - 7
4. What You Are - 7
5. Like A Stone - 10
6. Set It Off - 9
7. Shadow On The Sun - 7
8. I Am The Highway - 7
9. Exploder - 7
10. Hypnotize - 8
11. Bring Em Back Alive - 7
12. Light My Way - 8
13. Getaway Car - 7
14. The Last Remaining Light - 8

Average: 7.86

Produced by Rick Rubin. Mixed by Rich Costey.
Recorded by David Schiffman, Andrew Scheps.
Mastered by Vlado Meller.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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