Rage Against The Machine were probably the most affluent force in punk music, with their impact still coming off strong today. Guitarist Tom Morello has been moving away from his punk roots, though, and been experimenting more, doing so with flying colors. Tom Morello shows that he’s a jack of all trades in his diverse new album The Atlas Underground, mashing genres together with seamless results.
The Atlas Underground isn’t quite what you’d expect going into an album made by one of punk’s most notable figures, yet you can’t help but be pleasantly surprised by the results. Opening track ‘Battle Sirens‘ featuring electronic duo Knife Party brings the record to a cool and dynamic start, raging electronica supporting Morello’s thick, dirty riffs. This awesome blend of rock and EDM is constantly coming together in awesome ways on this record, like in the Steve Aoki and Rise Against‘s Tim McIlrather collaboration ‘How Long,’ where McIlrath really sets a new bar for the rest of the album. As much as Morello experiments on the record, he never fails to perfectly inject his rock roots into the music, even when things get weird, like on ‘Vigiliante Nocturno‘ with Carl Restivo.
There’s a lot going on in The Atlas Underground that keeps you on your toes. ‘Every Step That I Take‘ has a poppy swagger to it, largely thanks to features from Portugal. The Man and Whethan, and is directly followed by ‘We Don’t Need You‘ featuring Vic Mensa, which is a much more aggressive track. K.Flay helps deliver a more punk punch in ‘Lucky One,’ while ‘One Nation‘ with Pretty Lights keeps things groovy and cool. Some tracks experiment but do fall a little bit short, like the pulsating ‘Rabbit’s Revenge,’ which features Bassnectar, Big Boi, and Killer Mike. This track is basically all build and never really gets to the climax it feels like it should hit. Closing tracks ‘Roadrunner‘ (with Leikeli47) and ‘Lead Poisoning‘ (with GZA, RZA, and Herobust) take the record out on a suiting note, full of dynamic, genre-bending elements and a distinctly punky attitude.
Tom Morello shows that he’s a jack of all trades in his diverse new album The Atlas Underground, mashing genres together for one eclectic neo-punk tirade. This record has a little bit of everything to it, and while some areas may lack a definitive punch or climax, there’s respect to be given for the daring nature of the tracks regardless.
Favorite Track: Lucky One
Least Favorite Track: Rabbit’s Revenge
Rating: 76 / 100
Stream or buy The Atlas Underground on Apple Music, and follow our 2018 Playlist on Spotify: