Sound — 10
One of the more interesting things about RATM is that none of their albums sound exactly the same. Of course de la Rocha is screaming and Tom is doing some off the wall guitar sounds, but each album is very distinctive in their own respects. Renegades is no different. While their debut featured a solid metal/rap sound, Evil Empire was more hip-hop orriented, and Battle of Los Angeles was a nice combo, Renegades touches on all bases. The album mainly stays on a hip-hop vibe, but always has a nice icing of hard riffs and a solid bass-heavy rhythm section is always present. Zach seems to annunciate the lyrics with a crisp ferocity that is rarely found on earlier Rage albums. Tom displays insane riff skills throughout, turning Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen songs into fist pumping, arena shaking rock anthems. The production of Renegades seems to be a bit more polished than earlier albums, but that grit and attitude that the band is known for remains untouched.
Lyrics — 10
This is a cover album, so in no way do the lyrics say anything for Zach de la Rocha's writing abilities. However, Rage covered some true classics from a multitude of artists that are known for reaching audiences through their lyrics and storytelling. So while it is odd to hear Zach scream about the "spraying n****s," it works somehow. They didn't go into the studio to make a political statement of an album, it seems more like a jam session that was meant for fun, and nothing more.
Overall Impression — 10
I absolutely love this album. I usually hate cover albums, but Rage avoided making a kareeokee copy of every song. Every cover is redone in a way that gives new life to each song. The album served its purpose, and did so beautifully. It's just a shame that this album basically broke the band up in the first place. Regardless, if you are a Rage fan, this album definately deserves your attention and hearing ability.