Courtesy: Fantasy Records
Rage Against The Machine is back again…sort of. Tom Morello, Tim Cummerford and Brad Wilk joined forces with longtime friends B-Real (Cypress Hill) and Chuck D (Public Enemy) some time ago following the dissolution of Audioslave to form the super group Prophets of Rage, which is for all intents and purposes Rage Against The Machine 2.0. The only real difference between this “new” group and RATM—as is clear in listening to the group’s brand new self-titled debut album, is the fact that Morello, Wilk and Cummerford are joined this time out by the aforementioned superstar hip-hop front men. Musically and lyrically speaking, the fruits of the group’s efforts make this 12-song album everything that Rage Against The Machine fans have come to expect from that band. Even with that in mind, that return to musical and lyrical form makes this record a welcome effort from the second coming of Rage Against The Machine.
Prophets of Rage’s brand new self-titled debut album is a welcome effort from what is for all intents and purposes the second coming of Rage Against The Machine. That is due in part to the musical arrangements presented throughout the course of the album’s 12-song, 39-minute run time. From start to finish, listeners get here 12 arrangements that are a full return to form for Morello and his RATM band mates—Brad Wilk (drums) and Brad Cummerford (bass). Morello’s heavy riffs and guitar-based special sound effects lift from all three of RATM’s full-length studio efforts and even from the trio’s work under the Audioslave moniker. That balance of sounds throughout this record makes it enjoyable enough even despite the arrangements not exactly being anything groundbreaking. Keeping this in mind, the album’s collective arrangements are collectively just one of the album’s elements to examine. Its lyrical content is just as important to note here as those arrangements.
The lyrical content presented throughout Prophets of Rage is important to note here because it is just as familiar to RATM fans as the album’s musical arrangements. What is important to note here is that while being as socially conscious as the lyrics in RATM’s previous albums, the topics tackled here are timely. They do not just rehash the topics taken on in those records. Case in point is the album’s opener ‘Radical Eyes.’ This song clearly takes on the misconception that just because someone might read one religious book or another that said person has become radicalized. It is a response, basically, to the close mindedness that so many people have primarily against the Muslim community in this nation. Its follow-up, ‘Unf*** the World’ stays on a similar mindset as it takes on the issue of racism that is still so alive in America. The group also takes on the issue of poverty in America and the struggle to fight the issue due to politicians who seemingly don’t care to fight that battle in ‘Living on the 110.’ The group even takes on the issue of personal privacy invasion of sorts in ‘Take Me Higher,’ which addresses law enforcement’s use (and possible misuse) of drones in their daily duties. The group even goes so far as to address the tensions between police and the people that have risen in recent years over allegations of police brutality in ‘Hands Up.’ This is all just a glance at the way in which Prophets of Rage manages lyrically to impress listeners with its timely lyrical content. The other songs not noted here all present lyrical content that is just as timely as the material noted here. Keeping all of this in mind, the lyrical content presented throughout this record proves to be POR’s cornerstone. It is just one more of the album’s most important elements, too. The album’s sequencing puts the final touch to its overall presentation.
Plenty of time and thought was obviously put into Prophets of Rage’s sequencing. From start to finish, the album never lets its fire burn out. Even as the group gets a bit funky in ‘Take Me Higher,’ it still doesn’t let up in its energy. The up-tempo arrangement is instantly infectious thanks to all involved, ensuring listeners’ engagement just as much as the album’s much heavier arrangements. Much the same can be said of ‘Counteroffensive,’ the 38-second interlude which lifts more from Public Enemy and Cypress Hill than RATM. Even as short as it is and stylistically separate from its counterparts, its arrangement still is entertaining. Its placement almost halfway through the record is just as smart, as it gives listeners a short break and some variance to the record in whole. Considering this, the energies exhibited in each song and the fact that no one song directly repeats the other (in regards to their arrangements), it becomes even clearer why the album’s sequencing is so important to the album’s whole. The energies never vary even as the familiar arrangements do vary. When this is considered along with the arrangements themselves and the album’s timely lyrical content, the end result is an album that proves to be a solid first effort from Prophets of Rage and an equally solid new effort from what is for all intents and purposes Rage Against The Machine 2.0. More information on Prophets of Rage is available now along with Prophets of Rage’s latest news and more at:
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