Spin #27 : Rage Against The Machine : Self-Titled
Musicians on Album: Zack De La Rocha (vocals), Tom Morello (Guitar), Brad Wilk (Drums/percussion) and Tim Commerford (Bass Guitar).
Rage Against The Machine : Self - Titled Year Released : 1992 (2012 repress) Produced by Garth Richardson and RATM Label: Epic/Legacy/Sony Music Price Range: $50+AUD Speed: 33 1/3 RPM Album Before : N/A Album After : Evil Empire (1996) Further Listening : Renegades - RATM covers album -2000 LP : 1 x Black LP Mood for enjoying: High energy music requires you to play loud through headphones or playing it in the day time so it doesn't wake anyone up. This album is a huge Mood lifter!!! Track Listing:
LP Side A
Bombtrack - 4:02
Killing In The Name - 5:14
Take The Power Back - 5:36
Settle For Nothing - 4:49
Bullet In The Head - 5:08
Side B Know Your Enemy (feat. Tools Maynard James Keenan) - 4:57
Wake Up - 6:06
Fistful of Steel - 5:32
Township Rebellion - 5:22
Freedom - 6:06
What's in the Sleeve ? 1 x black LP, paper inner sleeve with printed lyrics and record details
"Crank the music up! Bring that shit in! uggh! Yeah, the movement's in motion with mass militant poetry. Now check this out, uggh!" ~ Take The Power Back - Side A
Welcome to Spin #27 - Rage Against the Machine - Self-Titled
Here is another oldie-but-goodie from my childhood that had a significant affect on me. This week I have chosen to spin the Self-titled debut album by Rage Against The Machine, released in the early 90's. I remember hearing this album years later (as when it was released I was only 3 years old). Similar to 'Black Sunday' by Cypress Hill that I reviewed a couple of weeks back, this album just had that energy I needed at the time of growing up. I don't think that I have come across someone that doesn't like at least one or two songs from Rage Against The Machine (RATM). Also, I have really enjoyed reliving my youth in the last couple of Spins with the early 90's picks.
I will play this one loud on the loungeroom set up but use my headphones when I sit and write this spin. I want our children to hear this one because the BASS and energy will get them up and dancing. So I have the loungeroom record hutch (custom made by me) ready to go, Sherwood Turntable (PM-9805) and Receiver (RX-4508) with Sennheiser headphones ready to go. Do as De La Rocha commands and 'Crank the music up!'
From Left to Right: Tom Morello, Zack De La Rocha, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk
Drop the Needle (of course means place the stylus nicely on your wax):
The cover of Rage Against the Machine's 'Self-Titled' album is very confronting and at the time growing up I didn't fully comprehend just what it was. Now that I am older, I understand that the photo was taken to capture a horrible moment in time and provoke feelings by the viewer. Having it put onto an album cover was just another way to get a wider viewing of a Vietnamese Buddhist monk practicing self-immolation in 1963. The ultimate imagery of Protest, right up there with the Tiananmen Square protester of 1989.
First track on the album and start of Side A starts with an absolutely belter of a song that is instantly recognisable. I remember dancing around to this as a teenager and the sounds of 'Bombtrack' brings those memories right back. If you are looking for a pump up song whilst working out or going for a run, then put on 'Bombtrack' and enjoy. The bass builds and builds until the vocals of De La Rocha start. I like the lyric, "Hardline, hardline after hardline" as it really gets you pumped up. De La Rocha growling towards the end is a welcomed touch and I wish I could have seen these guys perform live back in their peak.
'Killing In The Name' is another song with a heavy bass line introduction that takes command and demands respect so skip this one if you dare. Let the Stylus play through and make sure to nod your head along with headphones on if you want to get the best experience. As I am sitting here with the headphones on I have my eyes closed to really absorb the music, so close your eyes as you hear Morello shred it up on this track. Wilk is hitting the kit hard and the production on this 'Music on Vinyl' pressing is right up there with the best of them. I wish that I had a bigger set up for records like this one as it hits on so many levels. I like how they work the beat, bass and riffs to the lyrics, "Now you do what they told ya" and as always, Morello's guitar work will melt your face!!! Song doesn't have any lyrics on the lyric sheet, yet every other song does , strange as it is such a massive song. The drumming outro as De La Rocha says "Fuck you I wont do what you tell me" gets me everytime and I am pumping my fist in the air in our loungeroom. I'll admit it because that is why I listen to music and that is in order to evoke emotions/feelings. You will probably be doing the exact same thing.
Want a rest? too bad. The next song is called 'Take the Power Back' and boy is it impressive. I like how there are no synths, samples or keyboards on this album too. It's a 4 piece band set-up with old school drums, bass, guitar and passion vocals. "It's the beats and lyrics they fear, the rage is relentless. We need a movement with a quickness, you are the witness of change and to counteract, We gotta take the power back".....goosebumps every time. Make sure its loud, you'll thank me later. I feel like the live version would have so much area for improvisation and expansion. Wilk, Morello and Commerford work so well together and it shows on a song so well crafted as this. The end of the song has a nice slowness to it with Wilk on the high hats before a musical nightmare begins (in the best way possible). De La Rocha yells "UGGHH, YEH, TAKE IT BACK Y'ALL" as Morello takes us out.
'Settle For Nothing' has a slower start and really eerie feeling through the headphones. Definitely a much darker song lyrically and full of pain. Especially with vocals, "I gotta 9, a sign, a set and now I gotta name". Rage Against The Machine are not afraid to be vulnerable on this track and with the three bangers before this one, they can get away with a darker more muted track. "if we don't take action now, we settle for nothing later. We'll settle for nothing now and we'll settle for nothing later".
The next track, 'Bullet In The Head' picks the spirits back up and I remember my childhood friend freestylin' to this one like it was yesterday. I have to thank him for getting me introduced to Rage Against the Machine and Cypress Hill, Thanks Blake. Behind the kit is Wilk who must have gone through so many sticks whilst recording this as he seems to smash the crap out of his kit. It is so crisp coming through my ears with his kicks especially. Our little gremlin (3.5 year old son) had his 'mosh face' whilst dancing to this album and he is growing up so very fast. He is going through a faze at the moment where he will say "oh my goodness", which is very cute. Great ending to a powerful Side A - "Just victims of an in-house drive-by. They say jump, you say how high". I'm done jumping for others and feel that it's time to take care of what is mine and be happy.
Side A comes to an end as it's time for me to stand up and flip the LP over to Side B.
I suppose I can say this now because I don't use it for anything but the name of the next song was an inspiration to me growing up and I used it for my school passwords a lot. Really if you 'Know Your Enemy', then you are able to see what's coming your way and have a better way of defending yourself. I believe that it is once again suitable to believe in this mantra. This one is my favourite track and because of my sister, I now know who Maynard James Keenan of Tool is (as he appears on this track with guest vocals). This track has so many moments, sounds and is easy to replay over again and again. I love the line of " 'Cause I'll rip the mike, rip the stage, rip the system, I was born to rage against 'em".
My first thought when I hear 'Wake Up' is the movie, 'The Matrix'. Morello owns this track with his distinct sound and so impressive that it is all him and foot pedal. I know my Dad really enjoyed when I played Rage Against The Machine as a kid and was one of those bands that I could get away with playing in the car. The end of this track has a real chug sound as De La Rocha is saying, "I think I heard a shot". Insane ending and I'll need to listen to more of their live stuff to see if they can bring that rawness of their album to the stage.
On the next track, 'Fistful Of Steel', I really like the lyrics but something about the high pitched guitar throughout the verses really doesn't do it for me. Making this track the weakest for me. I just imagine someone screaming constantly throughout and it's a shame because the chorus, playing and production is fantastic. It is almost saved because of the ending of this track. Let me know what you think of this one in the comments below or the social pages. "If the vibe was suicide, then you would push da button. But ya bowin' down, then let me do the cuttin'".
'Township Rebellion' shows off De La Rocha spittin' at his best. Love the Morello solo towards the end and the passion within when "Why stand on a silent platform, Fight the War, Fuck the Norm" is being sung. They really had a formula that worked well and ran with it for the whole album. I look around and see Night Kat Kiz doing her own thing and being content within herself right at this moment. It's nice to listen to the ending of this song and try and imagine what she must be thinking right now. Maybe it's because her team isn't winning the footy at the moment or that she is thinking of 30 different things at once. "Township Rebellion" comes to an end and we are now are the last song of the album.
'Freedom' is a fun track that has them really slowing the vocals down, as if it's a sing along or spoken word track in parts. Then it really ramps up again with Morello and Commerford taking over. If you have this album, you need to play it all the way through and make sure to lose yourself within it. It ticks all the boxes for rest and relaxation if that is something that you are craving. "Anger is a Gift" and I agree, but you need control. Controlled anger or focused anger can be productive. Just a word of caution, the ending of this one almost blew my head off with the high frequency sounds.
You can relax now as the mosh pit wherever you are listening this too has subsided. If you enjoyed this weeks Spin then make sure to get involved on our social pages and mid week sneak peaks. I will be really interested in what you all think about this album and always happy to talk music. Keep Raging! Also a very special shout out to my mum who is celebrating her 60th Birthday over this weekend - We love you very very much.
Until our next Spin, be Kind to people who are Raging Against The Machine and be Kind to your Wax!