Sound — 8
All in all Audioslave have taken a different approach to this album, in contrast to their previous self-titled offering. Here they focus more on their traditional rock n roll influences, in particular Led Zeppelin, as can be heard on tracks such as Doesn't Remind Me. This helps to develop a more distinguished and unique sound, rather than sounding simply like a collaboration of mismatched Rage Against The Machine and Soundgarden. The Rage and Soundgarden influences are obviously still noticeable, as our memory of Morello's riffing abilities is refreshed on several occasions, and Cornell's croaky vocals are difficult to confuse with any other.
Lyrics — 10
Cornell's lyrics here are perhaps the most personal he has ever written in his long and prosperous career. He puts his heart on display for all to see, and the vocals are delivered with precision, perfectly complementing the bass fueled, riff packed, downright dirty songs.
Overall Impression — 8
Although developing a more distinguished and unique sound is definitely a good thing, on first listen I still can't help feeling that this lacks the charisma of the first album. Maybe it was just the hype of seeing some of the biggest names in rock joining forces, or maybe it was just a more solid album. Either way, this is a difficult album to criticise. It still sounds fantastic, and Audioslave have laid the foundations to make them one of the biggest names in rock. Everyone forms their own expectations of collaborations such as these, and it is impossible not to compare it to the Rage of old and the dirty grunge machine that was Soundgarden. I would say it fairs against those gems, but does not excel. It stands up, but does not stand out. At some points I couldn't help but smile as Morello launches himself into a heavy riff or a guitar solo, just reminding me how good the Rage days were, if not teasing me. At other points though, the music washed over me in a daze of white noise and Cornell's barky vocals began to become irritating. This feeling quickly wore off though when listening to tracks like The Worm, which remind me what Audioslave is all about. They still rock, and this acts as another stepping stone to legendary status, which I believe they are capable of achieving.