Rage On: 20 Years of Rage Against the Machine

Rage Against the Machine

Rage Against the Machine – XX (20th Anniversary Edition Box Set)

Epic/Legacy, 2012

Twenty years after its release, its influence and jarring evolutionary effect on music is still as startling as the leap from Neanderthal to human life.

Rage Against the Machine signaled a musical leap forward melding funk, metal and rap with Marxist rhetoric and it worked. The long shadow cast here can be heard in pale, more dumber-er and less interesting imitators.

Guitarist Tom Morello is really the mastermind here. Leading the incendiary charge with his Hendrix-meets-Zappa, cum turn-table referencing guitar pyrotechnics to color singer Zack de la Rocha righteous indignation; it was a 1-2 punch no one saw coming. “Bullet to the Head,” and “Killing in the Name of,” is still firebomb subtle in their approach and delivery.

So twenty years later the rhymes are just as acerbic and vitriolic as they ever were, not feeling dated, and the unbridled anger of youth still works all around. The rhythm sections ability to make everything bounce is the secret weapon most every other band inspired to try their hand at this sort of fused hybridRage-Press-Photo-240x300 missed. Other bands would plod or stomp clumsily where as Rage always made you want to dance, even if you disagreed with their politics.

This is a lot of material to dedicate to one re-release. Disc One is the original album with three B-sides from the 1992. Disc Two is the original Rage Against the Machine demo tape. DVD One presents the band’s free concert in Finsbury Park,London,England, in June 2010. Music videos as well as various concert clips are included as well. DVD Two contains live performances from 1991-’94.  Chuck D contributes liner notes. Short of them playing your next party, what more could you possibly want?

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