Epic, 2002

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


Audioslave's debut was greeted with real hype when announced. What could be better than bringing together Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine, two of the better bands of the 90s? Surely they would make far better music than any of the other faceless aggro-metal bands of 2002 and have fun doing it, right?my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Well, not so much. Audioslave never really coheres as a true band except in spots; Chris Cornell's style never truly meshes with Rage Against the Machine's musicians, who seem to temper their natural influences to create something more suited to his voice. Much of the music is derivative or mundane; gone is the urgency of Rage and the majesty of the best Soundgarden. 

However, the moments that shine through are brilliant, such as the bracing "Cochise" and the Rage update "Show Me How To Live," which is guitarist Tom Morello's take on Superunknown. The disc is front-loaded with these and the other good tracks, notably "Gasoline" with its knockout solos and riffs. "Like A Stone" was on rock radio but is an awkward pairing and not worth the effort.

“Set It Off” is another diesel-fueled single, both intricate and classicist, something Soundgarden always strove to be, while "Hypnotize" is the one track that truly establishes these guys as a group, not a corporate merger. “I Am the Highway” is another acoustic slow burner worth a spin or two.The last third of the disc is pretty forgettable, as are "Shadow of the Sun" and "What You Are."

So a few songs are worth hearing, especially for fans of the two bands in question, but overall this is a moderately successful hard rock debut. It's just a shame it never really transcends its origins like it tries to. Maybe next time.

Rating: B-

User Rating: A-



© 2006 Benjamin Ray and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Epic, and is used for informational purposes only.