Growing up in the 90’s there were a lot of really interesting styles of music that emerged from the ashes of hair metal. Rage Against the Machine was probably my first real exposure into how politics mixed with the real world to have some completely negative and unintended consequences. Their message while not totally original and somehow reminiscent of Vietnam War protest music from the 60’s and 70’s was merely just a fragment of what made them great. Their angst driven melding of hip-hop and rock music was unique unto themselves and no-one dared to imitate them because they were true to their message and lived what they preached. So much to the point that their frontman Zach de la Rocha was visibly missing from some of their other projects because of one reason or another that was more than likely political in nature.
That said, with the untimely death or Chris Cornell ending any hopes for the middle of the road money grab Audioslave reunion, the instrumental trio of RATM have teamed up with B-Real from Cypress Hill and Chuck D and DJ Lord from Public Enemy to make what only 2017 could call a true supergroup with the most authentic figures that have made incredible careers as musicians and activists. Dubbed as the Prophets of Rage they couldn’t have planned a better time to release new music with the implosion of the email queen of Benghazi, Hillary Clinton’s decidedly angry old white voter loss to Donald Trump purveyor of walls, secret military strikes and demagog like authoritarian narcissism aka #POTUS. Maybe it’s contrived a bit but I’ll welcome any return of Rage in any capacity.
With tracks like UnFuck the World, Radical Eyes, and Strength in Numbers you know it’s the politically charged album of the year and it’s totally a recording of our time in which we’ll all look back on years later as to how did that even happen? Hook after hook, I was completely captivated. The music was harder than ever with even more experimental guitar “solos” by lead guitarist Tom Morello. The two-edged sword attack of hip-hop legend lyricists Chuck D and B Real is more amazing than ever on this recording probably because they fit so seamlessly to the tracks. All in all, I’m usually down on supergroups & band reunions in general but this works really well and it’s just flat out great music!
The cover art and guerilla marketing lo-budget and finger to the pulse videos on their website all coincide with one another to make the experience one that is completely aligned with punching Neo-Nazis in the face, chanting as a truly united America with the #blacklivesmatter movement and the overall disdain over the results of the election that Democrats knowingly voted 3rd party and then got upset when Donald Trump was president. The music is 100% representative of this growing sentiment in our current political climate. The band as always are true to their values and have no problems expressing it in a deeply polarized America. For that, I commend them and the music that was born out of staying true to themselves. Get their music at their site prophetsofrage.com and check out their debut self-titled album below!