Evil Empire review by Rage Against the Machine

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  • Released: Apr 16, 1996
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (55 votes)
Rage Against the Machine: Evil Empire

Sound — 8
This is Rage's most overlooked album, because it follows a slower, yet much more route than their self-titled and third studio album. The album explodes from the start, with People Of The Sun and Bulls On Parade, which are more like traditional Rage songs, especially Bulls, which is perhaps their best song. Vietnow changes the pace a bit by introducing a repetitous element that works well with the song. Revolver prominently displays Tom Morrello's skill with the guitar as it opens with sounds I could have sworn came from a server room and leads on into a very mature song about wife abuse. Snakecharmer sounds very different from previous Rage songs with a small static effect added to Zack's voice, while the guitar and drums take a heavy route. Tire me is perhaps their fastest song, and actually sounds very good especially with Brad Wilk's drumwork and Tim Commerford's (credited as Tim Bob) excellent intro. Down Rodeo is a fun, if somewhat random, song. Without A Face is a very mature song, but it seems very relaxed and often lulls me to sleep. I don't exactly know why, as it's a pretty heavy song, but it just takes a very relaxing rythm. Wind Below is perhaps Rage's slowest song as it deals with the consumerism in America. Roll Right is Rage's idea of an excuse to rock out, and I liked it; it is a very good song to just lean back and listen to. Year Of Tha Boomerang is a deep song, and Zack actually repeats the entire song here, but it doesn't feel cheap at all. In fact, it makes perfect sense. Throughout this entire album, Tom's guitar shines with a variety of effects that would make Star Wars blush. There are no tradiontally played solos like with Know Your Enemy or Take The Power Back, but the solo for Bulls On Parade is amazing, as he does it by just sliding his hand and switiching pickups. Tim Commerford's bass also shines, and is more distinctive in the sophomore album. Brad Wilk's drums have taken a very punk turn, but it works well with the guitars and Zack. Instead of being backup to the song, drums are crucial now. Zack has many more tones than just Angry in this album, from the slow whispering of Wind Below to the straight rapping of Bulls On Parade to the fast paced Tire Me. If anything, the album gets a bit boring since the songs follow a pattern after People and Bulls, but the fact that each song sounds different is enough to keep the album exciting.

Lyrics — 10
The lyrics are much more mature here. Gone are the previous rantings about conspiracy, hypocracy and social injustice. Here, there is abuse, racism, consumerism and the general cons of society rather than government. That is, once again, after People Of The Sun and Bulls On Parade. Those two are traditional Rage songs about government. The ones after are the ones that target society. Revolver is particularly heavy lyrics-wise as it deals with a woman who has suffered abuse from her husband, so she waits at the door for him with a revolver in her hand. the rest of the song isn't as straightforward as Revolver, but the issues are as heavy.

Overall Impression — 8
This is a very mature album from Rage. If you want an album to rock out to, skip this. People Of The Sun and Bulls On Parade are traditional and two of their best songs, but the rest takes a much slower but heavier pace. The album itself is great, with lots of variety, but the songs are repetitive and sometimes a bit boring. It is definitely a keeper, but not for excitement or rocking out, but simply for thought. It's a thought provoking album, that questions society, not the easy target: government.

9 comments sorted by best / new / date

    What the heck Without a face rating 7? In my meaning without a face is one Rages best songs and the verse is extremely cathcy!
    con job
    this is so different to other RATM stuff.took a while to grow on me,but now its my joint favourite.morello is a legendary player
    yea def agree in those comments love this album to bits and almost have it all and im gonne get live in mexico dvd cos i love these guys tim good bassist tom best ever guitarist brad best drummer and zack best rapper even tho i hate rap altogether he makes this band awsom and i love his style of rapping and lyrical fuse
    A Poe
    An album that will go down in the books. Bad ass from start to finish