02 December 2009

MM Vol 2 - 079 - Audioslave


MM Vol 2 #079

Audioslave

"Cochise"

(2002)
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................Genre: Alt Rock...............
Son of Cochise
Audioslave, should have been one of the best Supergroups ever to merge & to grace the face of the planet. Yep ...... Should have. History has shown that the "Supergroups" of yesteryear, have never really lived up to the hype of potential as well. For example; a Time magazine article entitled "Return of a Supergroup" quipped that the supergroup was a "potent but short-lived rock phenomenon" which was an "amalgam formed by the talented malcontents of other bands." The article acknowledged that groups such as Cream and Blind Faith "played enormous arenas and made megabucks, and sometimes megamusic", with the performances "fueled by dueling egos." However, while this "musical infighting built up the excitement...it also made breakups inevitable."
Supergroups, such as Cream, Highway Men, Power Station, Traveling Wilburys, Audioslave & Zwan who are considered by their peers as "dreadful" who also deemed Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Emerson Lake & Palmer and Velvet Revolver as being "fantastic". Now to me, if you want to see an interesting "Supergroup", how about these for a taster? Muse and Placebo together or Pink Floyd and Dream Theater for a collaboration?[now that would be interesting!].
Close encounters of the ... [?]
It's subtle, but telling, that the cover of Audioslave's eponymous debut is designed by Storm Thorgerson, the artist behind Pink Floyd's greatest album sleeves. Thorgerson, along with Roger Dean, epitomized the look of the '70s, the era of supergroups, which is precisely what Audioslave is -- a meeting of Rage Against the Machine, minus Zack de la Rocha, with former Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell. Though both bands were leading lights of alt-metal in the '90s, the two came from totally separate vantage points: Rage Against the Machine was fearlessly modern, addressing contemporary politics over Tom Morello's hip-hop-influenced guitar, while Soundgarden dredged up '70s metal fueled with the spirit of punk. That these two vantage points don't quite fit shouldn't be a surprise -- there is little common ground between the two, apart that they're refugees from brainy post-metal bands. Of the two camps, Chris Cornell exerts the strongest influence, pushing the Rage Against the Machine boys toward catchier hooks and introspective material.
Supergroup of the millennium
Occasionally, the group winds up with songs that play to the strengths of both camps, like the storming lead single "Cochise." For Cornell fans, it's a relief to hear him unleash like this, given the reserve of his brooding solo debut, but this is hardly a one-man show. The Rage band, led by the intricate stylings of guitarist Tom Morello, gets their chance to shine, including on numbers that are subtler and shadier than the average Rage tune. Which brings up the primary fault on the album: Perhaps Morello, and perhaps the rest of RATM, are technically more gifted than, say, Soundgarden, but they never sound as majestic, as powerful, or as cinematic as what Cornell's songs need. His muted yet varied solo album proved that he needed muscle, but here it's all muscle, no texture or color. Consequently, many of the songs sound like they're just on the verge of achieving liftoff, never quite reaching their potential. There are moments, usually arriving in the first half, where Audioslave suddenly, inexplicably clicks, sounding like a band, not a marketer's grand scheme. Still, these moments are few and far between and it's hard to get through this album as a whole. By the end, it's clear that this pairing was a clever idea, but not an inspired one. ~ [Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide]
For Cream visit Definitive 1000 #554
For Power Station visit Definitive 1000 #893
For Traveling Wilburys visit Definitive 1000 #969
For Crosby Stills & Nash visit Definitive 1000 #660
For Muse see MM Vol 2 #088
For Placebo see MM Vol 2 #108
For Pink Floyd visit MM Vol 1 #138, Definitive 1000 #497
For Rage Against The Machine visit Definitive 1000 #588
This song has a crowbarred rating of 77.9 out of 108
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