Rage Against The Machine - Rage Against The Machine: XX

A shouty, sweary rap-metal album that wasn’t crap

And lo, Satan decreed that thrash metal would be superseded by grunge, which begat alt.metal, which begat rap-metal, which begat nu-metal. And then baseball cap manufacturers’ share prices soared.

In the middle of this long-gone process was Rage Against The Machine’s monstrous debut album, a venomous collection of songs that expressed the LA
foursome’s deep
dissatisfaction with the
military-industrial complex,
institutionalised racism, public
manipulation through
advertising and the general
decay of society. If all this
sounds miserable, it wasn’t:
go and see these songs
played live and the adrenaline
levels of both crowd and band
will blow your mind. The high
points are the Radio 1-fooling
Killing In The Name, Bullet In
The Head, Wake Up and
Know Your Enemy; but, look,
it’s an album of malevolent
classics from start to finish.

This 20th anniversary
edition adds the 1991 RATM
demo in its entirety, plus live
clips and promo videos that
you’ve probably seen many
times before. Skip those and
give the demo tracks a spin.
The tempos are slower, the
solos different and the
arrangements slightly primitive
when compared with the
finished versions. The real
gold is in tracks that didn’t
make the final album, such as
the funked-up Autologic and
a jazz workout, Darkness Of
Greed.

5 stars 5 stars 5 stars 5 stars 5 stars

Epic | 88765412152 (2-CD+DVD)

Reviewed by Joel McIver
<< Back to Issue 410