Saturday, 9 April 2011

CD Review: The Battle Of Los Angeles, by Rage Against The Machine (1999)

The third studio album by Rage Against The Machine, and their last to feature original material, The Battle Of Los Angeles finds the band in fine form. Perhaps the most metal of the band's albums, at its best The Battle Of Los Angeles perfectly demonstrates how rap vocals and metal music can enhance each other.

Tom Morello continues his never ending quest for innovative guitar sounds, but he makes sure to bring plenty of straightforward crunch to tracks like Testify and Guerrilla Radio. Most of the songs have a well-intentioned musical purpose in addition to a political message, and notable contributions from Brad Wilk's drums and Tim Commerford's bass.

Testify and Guerrilla Radio open the CD with a potent double punch, both benefiting from De La Rocha in fine form with his barely controlled angry delivery, and Morello mainly focussing on simple, driving melodies layered on top of crashing drum work by Wilk. Morello claims the spotlight on Sleep Now In The Fire, leading from the front with a groovy, sleazy riff that dismissively dominates the song even when it takes a break.

The interesting material continues: Maria slows the pace down with a more gimmicky guitar sound creating more vibe than music; War Within A Breath closes the album with a controlled construction site cacophony. And Morello's annoyingly enjoyable high-pitched alarm-clock tune from Ashes In The Fall deserves a mention, although it's a pity that the rest of the song does little with it.

The Battle Of Los Angeles is filled with interesting skirmishes and memorable assaults, and it's a satisfying final chapter for Rage Against The Machine's sadly short career creating original music.


Zack De La Rocha - Vocals
Tom Morello - Guitars
Tim Commerford (credited as Y.tim.K.) - Bass
Brad Wilk - Drums

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Testify - 10
2. Guerrilla Radio - 10
3. Calm Like A Bomb - 7
4. Mic Check - 7
5. Sleep Now In The Fire - 10
6. Born Of A Broken Man - 7
7. Born As Ghosts - 6
8. Maria - 8
9. Voice Of The Voiceless - 7
10. New Millennium Homes - 7
11. Ashes In The Fall - 7
12. War Within A Breath - 8

Average: 7.83

Produced and Mixed by Brendan O'Brien. Recorded by Nick DiDia.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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