Sound — 10
The story of the band starts when Rage Against The Machine's bassist Tim Commerford, drummer Brad Wilk, and guitarist Tom Morello were looking for a replace of Zac de la Rocha in 2000. After months of different rumors ex-Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell joined the band in studio in 2001. Having spent the next year writing and recording, the band opened to public on the 2002 Ozzfest. Since then there were no more RATM ?- Cornell's personality changed the band's music and the name had to be changed as well. The idea was to call it Civilian, but they settled on Audioslave. Cornell turned out to be a tough cookie for other band's members -? he quit the new project even before their summer tour and claimed that the band wasn't moving in the direction he was hopping for. But was back in a couple of months and in September 2002 Audioslave released the self-titled debut, which went multi-platinum. And even it was announced to be a short-life project, after three years of touring, the band is back with a new album "Out of Exile" which was released in May 2005. That same month they were the first American rock band to play outdoor in Havana, Cuba, which was considered to be a historical event. "Out Of Exile" has a real classic rockb feel. Having a lot classic rock riffs, it is even mixed like a classical rock album -? it starts with a rough hard-driving rock song "Your Time Has Come," followed by even harder and more strained "Out Of Exile." Then it slows done by the middle to down-tempo "Heaven's Dead" -? a melancholy rock ballad with hard rhythms and squealing electric guitars, after which it growls again with "The Worm" and "Man Or Animal" and ends with another beautiful rock ballad -? "The Curse." There are couple of pleasant surprises along the way -? funny "Doesn't Remind Me" which sounds almost like a country song in the beginning and a mellow "#1 Zero" with a bit of blues feel to it and powerful vocals. There are songs on the album that would please both RATM and Soundgarden fans -- "Your Time Has Come," "Out Of Exile" and "Man Or Animal" sound like they were written for Zack de la Rocha, but just without hip/rap elements, "Be Yourself," "Don't Remind Me" and "Dandelion" all are very tuneful and Soundgarden-ish. Thanx to soulful Cornell -- not only he brought the new name and style to the band, he also added the Soundgarden's mojo working with the material ?- the capability to mix a great variety of volumes and tempos and write slow, but very strong songs like "The Curse" or "Heaven's Dead." Except of that, the band has a very strong if not the best cast of musicians -? Tom Morello is considered to be one of the best guitarists lately ?- not only for has solid technical capabilities, but also for filling the songs with the unique and creative riffs. And he became even more innovative on this album. Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk is probably the most exciting and dynamic rhythm section in the business. The sound that they make together is not meant only to be the backing of Morello's art -? that is a very essential part of the band's sound. All of them together with Cornell managed to mesh two opposite styles together so well, that it created a new incredible sound.
Lyrics — 8
Chris Cornell has proved to be one of the best singers in rock, ever since the Soundgarden times. He fills the songs with muscular lead vocals and bangs out explosive yet soulful singing. But to look at it from the other side, Cornell now is not quite the singer he once was. Even though his voice is still very strong, it sounds strained sometimes and he can't scream the way he used to. It becomes obvious in the parts where the song needs a roar and it's replaced by layers of back vocals. Apart from his singing talent (doesn't really matter if it became better or worse now, he still has a huge talent), Cornell has a gift for lyrics like only a few people in rock-n-roll have ever had. Lyrics is what makes a rock band a great rock band. And Audioslave has what it takes. I like listening to the band not only because I enjoy the sound, but also 'cause I like to sing along to it -? not something dumb, but words that make sense and actually mean something to me. "Doesn't Remind Me" is a funny song and has the saddest lyrics at the same time. It reminds me of periods in my live when everything was so bad, that I just didn't want to think about it. Just something to excurse from it -? sing some happy song and watch gypsy moths or drive backwards in the fog. 'cause it doesn't remind me of anything. "The Curse" in my opinion has the best lyrics and that refers to the "girlish" part of my personality -? sounds like a perfect song a man could ever sing to his woman. "And as I'm howling as the moonlight, don't you kid yourself/I will be your luck/'cause even at my worst/Never your curse." A prince on a white horse... In general the lyrics here are more positive and less heavy, than on their previous album. But bitter, angry and self deprecation on songs like "The Worm," "Man Or Animal" and "Your Time Has Come" still define that band's style.
Overall Impression — 10
You can't help comparing this album to the band's debut "Audioslave." If the first one was a record of two songs and a bunch of other promising tracks that never lived up to their promise, on "Out Of Exile's" there's not a single filler. Even though there are no standouts like "Cochise" and "Like A Stone," all songs are very solid. To go on with the comparison, the debut album sounded more like Chris Cornell singing over some Rage Against The Machine tracks, on their sophomore album it's obvious Audioslave feel each other better and "Out Of Exile" has it's own style. This album is more focused and the band sounds more like a band now, than a supergroup's side project.