AUDIOSLAVE Audioslave (2002 UK 14-track CD album picture sleeve in custom stickered jewel case. Take one of THE voices of rock/grunge (Chris Cornell of Soungarden) add the talented mind and fingers of Rage Against The Machines Tom Morello and you have a startling new sounding album EPC5101302)
The debut of thundering supergroup Audioslave--featuring members of Rage Against the Machine post-Zack de la Rocha with ex-Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell--is as much curio as fascinating blend of visions. Cornell might be outnumbered, but his unmistakable holler and nihilistic imagery ensure that Audioslave, the album, recalls early Soundgarden. That's especially true since de la Rocha took Rage's signature rap and politicking with him. Still, if this is Soundgarden, it's Soundgarden set to stun. Rage guitarist Tom Morello is more of a mauler than Kim Thayil ever was--witness "Shadow on the Sun", which moves from bruising thud to psychedelic freak-out and back again--while the Rage rhythm section of Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk anchor the bottom end with pure instrumental cement. Intentionally or not, "Gasoline" bears passing resemblance to "Rusty Cage", while the sweeping "I Am the Highway" and slow-burning "The Last Remaining Light" best showcase Cornell's surprisingly New Age-y lyrical bent. Cover art by Storm Thorgerson--who gave Pink Floyd records their distinctive stamp--underscores the set's inherent celebrity. Fans of Rage and Soundgarden can raise clenched fists in unison, for Audioslave is win-win. --Kim Hughes
Few rock supergroup line-ups in recent years have had fans slavering in anticipation as much as Audioslave, the band which emerged from the ashes of Rage Against The Machine's acrimonious split with singer Zak La Rocha.
The notion of Soundgarden's Chris Cornell stepping into La Rochas Fair Trade moccasins may have raised a few eyebrows. But it will put a smile on the faces of those who have been itching to hear Cornell put his redoubtable talents to good use again.
All too often in the case of supergroups, the resulting whole is less than the sum of its parts.In this respect, Audioslave have defied convention, producing a record that sounds both classic and fresh, and more importantly, like a going concern rather than an exercise in necrophilia.
As one would expect from anything touched by the mighty hand of producer Rick Rubin, it's a tattooed-to-the-bone rock record.Sure, there are dim echoes of RATM and Soungarden, but if comparisons are to be made with anyone, it's 70s rock greats that spring to mind.
Opening track "Cochise" thrusts and grooves its way down a road well-trodden by the likes of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. This sets the tone for the rest of the album; heavy, powerful riffage over rumbling bass lines and thumping colossal drums.Subsequent tracks such as "Gasoline" and "Shadow On The Sun" continue to mine a similar vein, the latter climaxing spectacularly in a tempest of throbbing guitars and broken-glass vocals.
Guitarist Tom Morello is on scorching form, discharging killer riffs like a magazine of bullets, while Chris Cornell proves effortlessly that he is without question one of the finest rock singers ever, capable of both sexually-charged crooning and feral blasts of vocal rage.You rate Kurt? Cornell wrote the book.
Although the heaviness tails off a little by the time we get to "Getaway Car", this is a looser, freer record than anything RATM ever did. It's almost as if Tom, Timmy and Brad are just happy to rock out without having to worry about the righteousness of the lyrics. Cornell sticks to well-worn Jesus-Christ-Pose musings such as "Nail in my hand / From my Creator" ("Show Me How To Live").
This is an excellent debut. So turn that stereo up to eleven, close your eyes, and pray for some live dates soon... --Amy McAuliffe