Rock Anarchists

Rage Against The Machine -
The Battle of Los Angeles

(Epic Records)
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)

By Tony Bonyata

Rage Against The Machine, the anarchists who pulled the pin on the metal / rap grenade in 1992, are back and standing victorious at the top of the rubble they helped create with their latest album The Battle of Los Angeles, leaving mimers Limp Bizkit, Korn and Kid Rock bloodied and beaten at their own game.
On it bandmembers Zack De La Rocha (vocals), Tim Bob (bass), Brad Wilk (drums) and Tom Morello (guitars) revisit all the mayhem of their previous two albums, only this time they've upped the ante by adding a funky element to their lethal mixture of in-your-face metal and upside-your-head hip-hop. De La Rocha's vocals are still mad-as-hell, Morello's bombastic guitars even more explosive, leaving more shrapnel on the battlefield, while the rhythms are far more aggressive and complex then anything these radical rockers have delivered in the past.
The album opens to the sound of funkified metal complete with wah-wah pedals on "Testify", while the raw power of Iggy and The Stooges blasts out of "Sleep Now In The Fire" as De La Rocha angrily screams out that the mess we live in, is the mess we've made for ourselves. On their first single from the album "Guerrilla Radio" Morello's funk guitar scratches behind De La Rocha's follow-the-bouncing-bullet rap delivery. Sabbath-like rhythms abound on the turbulent "Born of a Broken Man" and "Calm Like A Bomb" while "Mic Check" finds them digging deep into their hip-hop roots as De La Rocha brays out, "With this mic device, I spit nonfiction" - nonfiction that throws the spirit of revolutionaries like Che Guevara, Zapata and Malcolm X into L.A.'s war-torn streets.
Rage Against The Machine's rallying call-to-arms on The Battle of Los Angeles is a wake-up call for those who don't see or hear the turmoil not only surrounding inner city life but in our own backyards as well. And a loud alarm it is.

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