Sound — 9
Only a year after Out of Exile's release, Cornell and the Rage gang reveal their 3rd studio album, Revelations. Unlike the previous releases, Revelations takes a big leap into the direction of funky rock, much like classic Rage Against the Machine, only this time, there's a wider variety of sound and innovation. Tom Morello stated in an interview that Revelations is a fusion of the british rock gods Led Zeppelin and the American funk band Earth, Wind & Fire, quite a very unorthodox combination. Albeit, Morello hit the nail dead-on with his description. The production and sound is clean and crisp as always, populated with Morello's trademark guitar riffs and effect pedal-happy solos. A notable presence is Brad Wilk's drumming, that compared to past albums, it is much more refined with a plethora of semi-complex patterns and heavy fills. Tim Commerford completes the rhythm section with his great bass playing. What sets him apart from other bassists, is that rather than just follow whatever riff Morello is playing, Commerford branches off into his own licks at given times, rarely seen by most bassists, whom play step-by-step with the rhythm guitarist constantly. Chris Cornell, fronting one of today's and yesterday's most powerful voices in rock and grunge, still has his qualities seen in the first two records, only this time, he sticks to a more bluesy and soulful style of singing, thus the connection to Earth, Wind & Fire. Profoundly, time has taken it's toll on Cornell's vocal chords, rendering him unable to hit the high notes that were present in the Soundgarden days, it's almost like a nail in his coffin, considering his high-pitched wailing were what set Cornell apart from a lot of vocalists. Revelations is one of the best openers in hard rock history, shortly followed by Sound of a Gun, in which the nostalgic Rage Against the Machine-reminiscent riff pounds throughout each chorus. Broken City and Somedays both stand out from the rest of the album, the former with a somewhat haunting presence, and the latter sounding like an anthem to the days we just can't stand. Nearing the end of the album is possibly the best written song, Nothing Left to Say but Goodbye, full of nothing but powerful lyrics and surreal melodies. Finishing off Revelations is Moth, in which Cornell takes you into a moth's perspective throughout the epic closer track.
Lyrics — 10
Lyrically, Cornell still stands tall. His unique writing has always been a huge part of his style; keeping things subtle and discreet with his words, rather than blurting them out with no real messages. Revelations is chockful of classic Cornell, hitting various topics and themes, which I'll leave the listeners to figure out for themselves, rather than ruin the self interpretation of each song.
Overall Impression — 9
Revelations is one of this year's best albums, and Audioslave doesn't fail to show that they put in a great deal of effort, devotion and feeling into it. To say it's better than the previous two albums wouldn't be right, seeing as how each one has it's own distinct style and sound. Revelations is pure gold for the kind of release it is, and will be looked back upon as a huge milestone for Audioslave's career.