Audioslave

Audioslave

4.4 78
by Audioslave
     
 

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At first glance, the idea of grafting Chris Cornell's blues-rooted, rock-god yowl onto the stuttering industrial-strength rhythms of Rage Against the Machine seems untenably Frankensteinian -- and indeed, the combination almost didn't survive past this recording session. But through some cleverSee more details below

Overview

At first glance, the idea of grafting Chris Cornell's blues-rooted, rock-god yowl onto the stuttering industrial-strength rhythms of Rage Against the Machine seems untenably Frankensteinian -- and indeed, the combination almost didn't survive past this recording session. But through some clever maneuvering (and a little sleight of hand), Audioslave create a sometimes gripping, sometimes outright commanding noise. Both Cornell and the ex-Ragers move toward the hard-rock center from their usual outposts, staging demolition derby–stylehead-on collisions with songs like the Zeppelin-inspired romp "Exploder" and the wailing statement of purpose "Cochise." With his unapologetically stagy presence, Cornell strides resolutely through the metal-flaked funk landscape of "Light My Way," while Tom Morello, freed from the overtly Marxist dictums of Rage past, lets his guitar-hero flag fly on shredding numbers such as "Like a Stone." There are moments when the experiment goes seriously wrong -- such as the old-school power-ballad "I Am the Highway" reviving clich�s from the days when Cinderella strutted arena stages hither and yon. More often than not, though, the quartet, who maintain the Rage credo "all sounds are made by guitar, bass and drums," stick to meat-and-potatoes riff-rock. That might come as a bit of a disappointment to those who prefer their mosh pit fodder studded with postgraduate sloganeering, but folks with a yen for down-and-dirty sonics will have no trouble submitting to Audioslave.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
It's subtle, but telling, that the cover of Audioslave's eponymous debut is designed by Storm Thorgerson, the artist behind Pink Floyd's greatest album sleeves. Thorgerson, along with Roger Dean, epitomized the look of the '70s, the era of supergroups, which is precisely what Audioslave is -- a meeting of Rage Against the Machine, minus Zack de la Rocha, with former Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell. Though both bands were leading lights of alt-metal in the '90s, the two came from totally separate vantage points: Rage Against the Machine was fearlessly modern, addressing contemporary politics over Tom Morello's hip-hop-influenced guitar, while Soundgarden dredged up '70s metal fueled with the spirit of punk. That these two vantage points don't quite fit shouldn't be a surprise -- there is little common ground between the two, apart that they're refugees from brainy post-metal bands. Of the two camps, Chris Cornell exerts the strongest influence, pushing the Rage Against the Machine boys toward catchier hooks and introspective material. Occasionally, the group winds up with songs that play to the strengths of both camps, like the storming lead single "Cochise." For Cornell fans, it's a relief to hear him unleash like this, given the reserve of his brooding solo debut, but this is hardly a one-man show. The Rage band, led by the intricate stylings of guitarist Tom Morello, gets their chance to shine, including on numbers that are subtler and shadier than the average Rage tune. Which brings up the primary fault on the album: Perhaps Morello, and perhaps the rest of RATM, are technically more gifted than, say, Soundgarden, but they never sound as majestic, as powerful, or as cinematic as what Cornell's songs need. His muted yet varied solo album proved that he needed muscle, but here it's all muscle, no texture or color. Consequently, many of the songs sound like they're just on the verge of achieving liftoff, never quite reaching their potential. There are moments, usually arriving in the first half, where Audioslave suddenly, inexplicably clicks, sounding like a band, not a marketer's grand scheme. Still, these moments are few and far between and it's hard to get through this album as a whole. By the end, it's clear that this pairing was a clever idea, but not an inspired one.
Spin Magazine - Chuck Klosterman
Seldom has a bad idea produced such badass music. (8)
Entertainment Weekly - David Browne
Cornell unleashes his wail in ways he hasn't since the glory days of Soundgarden; next to him, n�-metal pouters just sound like pouty adolescents. (A-)

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Product Details

Release Date:
11/19/2002
Label:
Sony
UPC:
0696998696822
catalogNumber:
86968

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