Dischord, they’ve done. Noise and politics they know about. At one time or another, the members of Audioslave have variously counted angst, paranoia, resistance and protest as their subject matter, but now they’re heading for something that they’ve not tried before – to make a heavenly and harmonious marriage.
Quite a challenge, obviously, when you learn that Audioslave are made up of three quarters of the line up of Rage Against The Machine: Tom Morello on guitar, Brad Wilk on drums, and Tim Commerford on bass. Possibly more so, when you learn they are additionally joined here by Chris Cornell, on cliché. Sadly, it seems that with ‘Audioslave’ these people who were involved in some very exciting rock records in the 1990s, now seem happy to be making some bad ones from the 1970s.
For this, and this next part of the sentence may prove puzzling for younger readers, is not too far from being a record by Dio, or Richie Blackmore’s Rainbow. Across a series of big but pretty tired riffs, Chris Cornell sings songs like ‘What You Are’ or ‘Shadow On The Sun’ which will more than likely mention the sun or setting things on fire, and occasionally being ‘locked away’ with some ‘problems’. If he were to tell you he were a wizard and he needed an amulet, it wouldn’t be all that surprsing.
It’s not too hard to figure out why. Though the best Rage Against Machine‘s members managed was an uneasy peace with each other, Zack De La Rocha did at least give them something to write about. Without this righteous fury, it’s difficult to know exactly what this new group could do to the machine, except possibly bore it into submission with a load of ponderous rock songs. This is an album involving many ‘big guns’. There’s the players themselves, of course. There’s Rick Rubin, producing. They’ve even wheeled out Pink Floyd sleeve designer Storm Thorgerson to turn out some pseudo-symbolic old bollocks for the front cover. And what does it all mean? What does this parade of heavyweights amount to? Refreshingly, the answer proves to be nothing very much at all.