This time we want to start the review with gratitude...
We ask all of you to join hands and say "thank you very much" (you can say it silently if you want).
Thank you very much Rick Rubin !!
One day, a sizable and rugged explosive barrel made its way into the studio of Rick Robin, presenting an apparent hazard. However, Rick, being a professional fighter and sapper, didn't hesitate and promptly placed the barrel in his studio. Later on, he realized that the barrel lacked a crucial component – a detonator. Undeterred, Rick pondered the situation and eventually recollected that he possessed a unique detonator, crafted in Seattle during the 90s. This distinctive detonator, not just an ordinary one, held special significance. When Rick connected the detonator to the barrel, a remarkable synergy emerged, as if the barrel and detonator were destined to be united. To his astonishment, this union set off a series of inevitable chemical processes, culminating in three significant and extraordinary explosions. The initial explosion, triggering a deadly blast wave, marked the onset of this explosive sequence – an album like no other!
If you are still with us after this amazing metaphor (in our humble opinion) then we will explain what we meant...
On November 18, 2002, the debut album of Audioslave was born.
Following Zack de la Rocha's departure from Rage Against The Machine in October 2000, the remaining "Rage Trio" was determined to forge ahead with a new chapter. While the desire to continue as a unit was clear, the question of who would step into the vacant role loomed large. In this pivotal moment, Rick Robin, previously mentioned, acquainted with the band's plight, proposed an intriguing solution – none other than Chris Cornell, the renowned singer of Soundgarden.
The band members were immediately enthused at the prospect of having the voice behind "Badmotorfinger" join their ranks. Excitement reached a crescendo, but there was one crucial step left. Rick reached out to Chris, who, at the time, was engrossed in his second solo album. A jam session was arranged to gauge the potential chemistry and dynamics. The rage trio, accompanied by Chris, entered the studio under the authoritative guidance of Rick Robin.
As the drama unfolded, Tom Morello initiated the proceedings with a guitar producing a rising and falling metallic sound akin to an alarm. Abruptly, Brad Wilk entered on drums, Tim Commerford on bass, and Tom shifted the sound to a blown distortion. After a potent opening of eight bars, the trio unleashed their power and awaited Chris's response. Taking the microphone, Chris opened his mouth and sang, "In my hour of need, On a sea of gray." In an instant, the studio erupted into a cascade of magical shards and cosmic waves, enveloping the space.
Tom, unable to believe his ears, remarked, "It wasn't just good... it was sublime!" The fusion of Chris Cornell's vocals with the Rage Trio's instrumental prowess had created a moment that transcended ordinary musical experiences.
And we have no other way to describe Chris' voice than sublime !!
So yes, this session was a demo of a song that will be called "Light My Way", this is the first song that the members played together and immediately they felt that the chemistry was perfect and the pairing was from heaven.
It's undeniable that this collaboration bridged two somewhat divergent worlds. On one side, there's the aggressive band with razor-sharp riffs, relentlessly delivering political and social messages, fully committed to confrontation. On the other side, there's a towering vocalist with a personal history marked by struggles with drugs and alcohol, primarily singing about life's frustrations, steering clear of political and social commentary. Yet, this supergroup, in all its phenomenal glory, ingeniously intertwines these contrasting elements, each influencing the other in unexpected ways.
The rage trio tempers their intensity, infusing a style that still packs a punch but does so with remarkable gentleness and melody, devoid of overt political or social fervor. Conversely, Chris finds himself more vociferous and primal than ever, navigating extremes that blend aggression and roars with moments of tenderness and caress.
Their debut album, aptly named after the band, is nothing short of a symphony of fireworks and musical explosions at their finest, akin to the music video accompanying the opening track. It's a classic case where the individual parts surpass the whole. Each song stands as a monumental piece, with not a single track on the album—regardless of personal agreement—that could be deemed weak, small, or insignificant. They are all meticulously crafted, showcasing sheer talent.
The album kicks off with the anthem and commanding "Cochise," featuring Morello's helicopter-like guitar, building up the drama, stretching us like a spring, and then, with a subtle finger movement, pulling the trigger. You can't help but be carried away as it launches into the air.
From the very first note, Chris unleashes his soul as if he had been patiently awaiting this trio to provide the platform for him to vehemently purge his emotions. Much like the music video, our ears are treated to a spectacular display of fireworks at the intersection of the rage trio and this dynamic vocalist.
The subsequent track introduces a relentless beat with a snare and bass that knocks you down, accompanied by Morello's guitar playing that seems designed to make you crawl on the floor.
"Show Me How To Live" stands as nothing short of an exemplary anthem, with a delicate balance between the verse and the chorus that creates an abyss, compelling you to scream out loud. Regardless of your religious beliefs or the force that shaped your existence, you find yourself turning to your creator and letting out a scream. While some may argue that the reference here is to the creator of the monster Frankenstein rather than Jesus, for us, the significance lies in the act of screaming itself. The choice of who to scream to is a personal one.
By the way, if you've ever wondered about the special effect on Cornell's voice at the end of the song, it's not an effect at all. It's Cornell himself gently patting his hands on his throat, adding a unique and personal touch to the sonic landscape.
Now, let's "calm down" a bit with "Gasoline." Here, too, the familiar pattern of tranquil verses is followed by an eruption of the chorus, this time fueled by gasoline, so caution is advised to avoid burning everything down.
In "What You Are," we are greeted by the mesmerizing fret and sweeping rhythm. At the 22nd second, Chris begins singing in a soft and caressing voice, seemingly leading us into a gentle ballad. However, the trio has other plans and once again introduces a powerful chorus when Chris exclaims, "Now I'm Free…"
Prepare your handkerchiefs and keep an onion nearby as an excuse, because now we arrive at the emotionally charged climax of the album (time flies), "Like a Stone." The song brings together the rage trio's raw intensity with a softer side. Once again, we start calmly, but this time the chorus doesn't explode too much, allowing Chris to continue with his tender and soothing vocals. This track stands out as one of the most emotionally stirring on the album, if not the most poignant. Even Tom's solo seems to weep over what Chris has conveyed, capturing a powerful and poignant energy. You might find it amusing, but this is 21st-century poetics, and it's genuinely moving to tears—such is the profound impact a person can transmit through their voice. (By the way, the castle in the music video was where Jimi Hendrix lived and created, adding an extra layer of historical resonance.)
Let's take a refreshing pause with a glass of water and then dive back in, because things are about to change, and we're reigniting the explosion with "Set It Off." The track kicks off with a sound that suggests something went awry in the studio, as if Rick accidentally nodded off on the buttons while editing Tom's recording. But then, it catches fire because someone "lit it." If we had a can of "gasoline" before, now you're urged to "set this [expletive] off," so go ahead and let it rip—we're not holding back.
The combination of Tom's instrumentation and Chris's vocals feels almost celestial. Now, add the pulsating bassline, and you've got the formula for creating a powerful resonance in the heart (yes, we're pouring here, and we're doing it consciously, so no need to worry...). Introduce the drums to the chorus, and it becomes sheer pleasure. "We can't tell you why," maybe it's the "Shadow on the Sun." The song's finale from 4:40 is an explosive culmination of the rage trio, sounding as if Chris is roaring and urging those who have already moved the sun.
Close your eyes and let Chris take the spotlight. Here, the rage trio truly eases off, allowing him to shine brilliantly. "I Am a Highway," some claim it was written about Chris' departure from Soundgarden, while others argue it was penned about his separation from his wife. Regardless, the song is undeniably stirring. Feel how he takes command of the song, embodying the lyrics—he is the highway and not just a wheel. He's not the hitchhiker or the magic carpet; he is the sky, and we wholeheartedly resonate with that sentiment.
Going back a bit to Rage's distinctive style, Chris roughens his voice and unleashes an explosive force in "Exploder." While our interpretation leans toward the song reflecting Chris' personal struggles and addictions, it's merely our perspective.
The track "Hypnotize" seems to be plucked directly from the demos Chris recorded for his solo album. Aside from Tom's little riff, it deviates from the style we've heard thus far, but we love it for its refreshing and different quality. Imagining the rage trio playing this song adds an intriguing layer.
Bringing them back, we dive into "Bring 'Em Back Alive," which carries hints of religion and faith, infused with Rage's funky yet softened style.
Yet another anthem from the supergroup's creator, "Light My Way" opens with Tom's sounds propelling us into a realm of electrical connections in the brain, inducing uncontrollable facial distortions. It's a monumental track, even with a touch of Chinese elements in the background. "Do not save it for another day," urges Chris. Click Repeat and let this song envelop you again.
To unwind a bit, "Getaway Car" takes the stage with Chris leading the way and featuring "The Escort Band." It's a beautiful fusion with bluesy undertones, delivering a delightful musical experience.
The album concludes with "The Last Remaining Light," where Tom's guitar seems almost broken, and Chris sits alone in a dark room recording the lyrics. But pause for a moment and focus on the sound of the snare. Notice how it rises above everything else, as if conveying a message, orchestrating perfect harmony among all the instruments.
We've said it many times, but it's worth repeating:
Music is a wonderful thing! And this album is no less wonderful!
The album cover, created by artist Storm Thorgerson, renowned for his work with bands like Queen, Pink Floyd, Genesis, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, and more, originally featured a naked man in front of the fire. Eventually, they opted for clothing in the final version.
This album stands as the band's most successful, reaching number seven on Billboard and earning a Grammy nomination in 2004 for the song "Like a Stone."
It would be ridiculous to say "click play" now because if you do not do it automatically, there is nothing to talk about at all ...