Sound — 10
In 2000, one of the most influential and original bands in history, Rage Against the Machine, was destroyed. The producer Rick Rubin, in his infinite wisdom, had a brilliant idea: why not combine this historically potent and talented band (the remnants of RATM) together with a singer that can bring to the surface a new dimension in the style of RATM. After trying a few freelancers and has-beens, he stumbled upon struggling ex-Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell. What at first didn't seem like anything more than just another attempt turned into magic when the 4 musicians entered the studio together. After churning out 8 or so songs under the assumed band title The Civilian Project, Rick (again in his infinite wisdom) decided to get the band's name out. After a brief debacle with a small-time British band over the band's title, they resolved to go ahead and name the band Audioslave. Enough music history. The powerful explosiveness that was practically invented by RATM is still very evident in htis album. The creative talent and style of Chris Cornell is equally displayed. There are several songs that are essentially the style of one former band being accompanied by the other (Set It Off and Exploder are both very RATM, and Shadow on the Sun and Last Remaining Light are very Soundgarden-ish), but special co-writing chemistry is prevalent in songs like the first 5 of them (in different ways): Cochise, Show Me How to Live, Gasoline, and What You Are have the same basic pentatonic hard rock feel, and Like A Stone is one of the simplest-yet-most-original songs of rock history. Compositionally, the album is arranged well too, with an explosive beginning in the first 3 tracks, slowing suddenly with tracks 4 and 5, then getting hard again for two more tracks, and then allowing the true creativeness begin to show for the rest of the album. Track 12, Light My Way, is rather out of place, but oh well. Morello's always distinct playing is perforated by periods of ingenuity, not just in his solos, but in his decision for tonal quality in the non-RATM-like songs in the album. Commerford's perfect backup, along with his now-signature distortion sound, allows the more "musically-oriented" (rather than adrenaline-oriented) band play full sounding songs without a second guitar, which is a commonly overlooked element of the band. Wilk's drumming is somewhat sedated in this album compared to his previous and later albums, but the very rhythmic feel of the band is due almost entirely to him (Show Me How To Live, mostly the intro - one of the most kick-ass plodding riffs ever written). Cornell's vocal tone matches surprisingly well with the band's other musicians, as well as varying enough to keep it interesting.
Lyrics — 10
Chris Cornell, never lax in his lyrical genius, is at it again after a rather unsuccessful try at being a solo artist (ever heard of "Euphoria Morning"? didn't think so). His very usual yet never unoriginal style comes at you hard sometimes (Set It Off), and softly others (Getaway Car), but it always makes an impact. Chris's talent is indubutable. I consider him one of the best voices in rock history, and probably the best in current rock.
Overall Impression — 10
This is one of those albums that you can listen to over and over again and never get bored of. It is also great to listen to from start to finish, as the songs flow together quite well. Cochise is one of those songs that makes me just wanna beat the crap out of someone. When I've had my time on this earth and I have a choice on how I go out, I'm goin out in the most awesome car crash you've ever seen listening to Gasoline. I overall consider this album to be my favorite ever, so for good reason, I recommend it to everyone.