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CD Reviews:  Audioslave: Audioslave

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Take one part Soundgarden, arguably one of the best bands of the 1990s, and mix in three parts Rage Against the Machine and you have a bonafide supergroup. Chris Cornell, the vocalist and sometimes guitarist from Soundgarden who can scream like a demon or sing like an angel, joins Tom Morello (guitarist) and the rhythm section from Rage, Tim Commerford (bass) and Brad Wilk (drums), to form Audioslave. Now the name may not be as cool as their last bands' but the music is absolutely fantastic.

This was one record I couldn't wait to get my hands on. This union almost didn't happen, though, when Cornell left the group momentarily right before Ozzfest in a disagreement about management; however, cooler heads prevailed and they reformed to put out this brilliant record. Other tracks from the band did leak out on the Web, but I never heard them. When I put this disc in my CD player the first time, I liked it. Then I listened to it again, and I loved it. Now, I can't stop playing it. 

Rage was a band that appeared stuck in fifth gear -- straight-ahead monster riffs with Zach De La Rocha's cadence-like rapping over the wall of sound. His vocal style limited their musical potential. Don't get me wrong, I love 1996's Evil Empire and 2000's Renegades, but Rage was one flavor only (mind you, an incredibly delicious and satisfying flavor, but one flavor nonetheless). Soundgarden, on the other hand, had about three gears and they used them all flawlessly. With Audioslave, it seems as if this new band borrows elements from both of their old ones and adds some new tastes along the way.

They do the soft-loud-soft-loud thing pretty well in "Show Me How to Live" and "What You Are," they attack the straight-ahead heavy stuff with expert marksmanship on "Cochise" and "Exploder," and they find some atmospheric material and a mellower vibe with "I am the Highway" and "Like a Stone." This album is rich in that explores all the groves you would expect from a Soundgarden-Rage Against the Machine merger, yet it focuses on places that you wouldn't necessarily expect. The result is an album full of material that expands the musicianship of the parts that make up the group. Red Rocker praised the Foo Fighters newest release as the best hard rock album of the year -- I say Audioslave is a formidable challenger for that title. 

~R. David Smola : Feedback - Link to Us  - About B-E - FAQ - Advertise with Us

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