Special

Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine (1992)

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Tracklist:

  1. Bombtrack
  2. Killing in the Name
  3. Take the Power Back
  4. Settle for Nothing
  5. Bullet in the Head
  6. Know Your Enemy
  7. Wake Up
  8. Fistful of Steel
  9. Township Rebellion
  10. Freedom

Probably one of the most influential albums to be released, Rage Against the Machine’s self titled debut album still sounds as fresh as it has always done. This album is only really bettered in regards to it’s cultural impact by ‘Nevermind’ back in the 90’s. When listening to the album it is hard not to strut along when walking with it on and nod along to the rap metal funk infusion that this album is.

The artwork of the album is a talking point in itself a photo of the self-immolation of Thích Quảng Đức, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, in Saigon in 1963 who was protesting President Ngô Đình Diệm’s administration for oppressing the Buddhist religion. It sets the tone for the rebellious political messages that the album contains.

The music in my opinion is absolutely incredible, as I have said before it stands the test of time so well. The compositions on this sound so organic and this is illustrated by the band’s statement on the artwork which says “”no samples, keyboards or synthesizers used in the making of this record”.

I have always been completely blown away by Tom Morello’s guitar work, some of the sounds that he gets out of six strings, a bit of wood and an amp are amazing. It is hard to believe that he hasn’t done “something” to the sound in the studio but his work is and always has been unique with that liquid note bending ability of his.

I also enjoy the rhythm section of this band, with Brad Wilk’s pounding drums but also Tim Commerford’s fantastic baselines, they are just impossible not to tap along to, if you are a fan of funk I would heartlly recommend that you pick up a copy of this and have a listen, particularly the bass on ‘Take the Power Back’ – groovy.

Bring all of the above together with Zack de la Rocha’s powerful vocal delivery with which he spits out lyrics with so much anger about injustices in the world, from his leftist angle,  but this is done with a high level of articulacy and you really do believe that he means every word.

Of course, you will all recognise ‘Killing in the Name’ which was famously UK Christmas No.1 in 2009 in protest to the monopoly that X-Factor winning contestants had with the Christmas number one’s, the royalties were given to Shelter and they held a massive thank you gig in Hyde Park the following summer. That famous refrain of “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me” is legendary and one of many shout along moments on the album.

Other highlights include ‘Killing in the Name’ and that explosive outro and the riff that powers along the whole of ‘Know Your Enemy’.

If you are a fan of metal or a fan of hip hop or both, it is definitely worth listening to this, and I’m quite certain it won’t be the last time you listen to it either….

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Special

The Great Twenty-Eight – Chuck Berry

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Track Listing:-
1. Maybellene
2. Thirty Days
3. You Can’t Catch Me
4. Too Much Monkey Business
5. Brown Eyed Handsome Man
6. Roll over Beethoven
7. Havana Moon
8. School Days
9. Rock & Roll Music
10. Oh Baby Doll
11. Reelin’ and Rockin’
12. Sweet Little Sixteen
13. Johnny B. Goode
14. Around and Around
15. Carol
16. Beautiful Delilah
17. Memphis
18. Sweet Little Rock & Roller
19. Little Queenie
20. Almost Grown
21. Back in the U.S.A.
22. Let It Rock
23. Bye Bye Johnny
24. I’m Talking About You
25. Come On
26. Nadine
27. No Particular Place to Go
28. I Want to Be Your Driver

On 18th March 2017, we all heard that one of the great pioneers of Rock n Roll music, Chuck Berry had passed away.

There’s no underestimating the impact that Chuck had on the music world, he has continued to be an influence with many bands and solo artists with his guitar solos and showmanship.

So onto the review, this album was released in 1982 and it’s a collection of Berry’s best songs from his Chess years of 1955 to 1965. You can certainly tell as it is just wall to wall great songs including the likes of Johnny B Goode, Sweet Little Sixteen and Rock n Roll Music.

The album acts as a great introduction to Chuck’s music and I imagine this album will probably be listened to quite a lot around the world over the next week or so.

One comment to make about the album, is just how lo-fi it sounds, there isn’t much in regards to production values. But this adds to the appeal of the collection, you don’t need to spend months tweaking the sound of the drum skin or the perfect temperature of the guitar strings and tea.

Personally, I really enjoy his blues driven guitar clearly heavily influenced by T-Bone Walker. The start of his songs generally are startled into life by his trademark blues rock guitar fighting to grab the listener’s attention.

The guitar solos are incredibly energetic and fast, with the rhythm of the drums and double bass helping to drive them along as well. They always sound fresh and heavily improvised which adds to the lo-fi feel of the songs.

The lyrical themes of the album tend to be driven around teenage angst and young live which was a common theme among the music of the time.

What will be a controversial thing to day, some songs on this collection do have a filler feel to them. Such as ‘Brown-Eyed Handsome Man’ and ‘Around and Around’.

But apart from that, the mysic is real toe tapping stuff, and an album that all rock fans should pick up and listen to.

RIP Chuck.