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It seems Rage Against The Machine is coming back this year in every way except a reunion. After Tom Morello and co. formed Prophets Of Rage earlier this year, their former lead singer has been busy at work making his own tunes. Zack de la Rocha is finally here with his debut single, 'digging for windows'.
It's safe to say that the song is better than a majority of Prophets Of Rage's debut EP (see our review here). It's not perfect, though. It has a lot of swagger and an interesting electronic based instrumental. It's reminiscent of RATM's typical in-your-face vibe, but not in the same flavor. 'digging' depends on thick, distorted synths with the subtle additions of backing guitars and synth arpeggios later on. It's a less chaotic Death Grips song, really. It definitely has the punk vibe paired with it, though.
Zach de la Rocha may have been out of the game for awhile, but he sounds just as energetic and angry as he was in his prime. It was seen when he featured on Run The Jewels' 'Close Your Eyes (And Count to Fuck)' on 2014's Run The Jewels 2 that de la Rocha wasn't out of the game just yet. Coincidentally, it was El-P from RTG who produced the track! The production of the track is perhaps one of its highlights; it's electronic and experimental hip-hop with just enough anger to still give it the punk rock vibes from RATM.
The song is pretty upfront with the lyrics; in fact, it starts off with him saying that he isn't here for cheerful lyrics - he's in it for some madness: "Fuck that bright shit / The spot or the flashlights / We in L.A. ducking both / In the shadows with lead pipes." The song deals with the narrator being caught by the cops and being taken to prison as well as falling into hard and unfavorable situations in life. He's angry at the corruption of it all, and calls out the big corporates: "Rise every time my cherry glows / On the end of my cig as / The smoke blows through the bars / And the C.O.’s laugh fades / As he strolls away / Says I gotta pay / Off that roll away / Or it's fuck your visitation days." The lyrics are edgy enough to harken back to that angsty yet relevant tone that RATM always had.
Prophets Of Rage has nothing on Zack. They may cover Rage Against The Machine, but they're missing the main man that made the songs so real. The song has been confirmed to be the lead single of a yet-to-be-announced LP, and this song shows a lot of positive signs. 'digging for windows' is a great return to music for Zack de la Rocha. Now, we wait. This is the true return of Rage Against The Machine - not in the way we expected it, or necessarily wanted it, but the way we needed it.
Rating: 81 / 100
2016 is still rolling by, and the albums are getting more diverse. Here's what I've listened to over the last three months (April - June) and links to the albums I've reviewed.
5-Star Albums (8.5 - 10)
- Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool - 10
- Deftones - Gore: 9.5
- Gojira - Magma: 9
- Thrice - Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere: 8.5
- Architects - All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us: 8.5
- Weezer - Weezer (White Album): 8.5
- LIGHTS - Midnight Machines: 8.5
- The Last Shadow Puppets - Everything You've Come To Expect: 8.5
- letlive. - If I'm The Devil...: 8.5
4-Star Albums (6.5 - 8)
- Beyoncé - LEMONADE: 8
- Issues - Headspace: 7.5
- Drake - Views: 7.5
- Swans - The Glowing Man : 7.5
- Meadowlark - Parraffin: 7.5
- Yeasayer - Amen & Goodbye: 7
- Against The Current - In Our Bones: 7
- Ariana Grande - Dangerous Woman: 7
- PUP - The Dream Is Over: 7
- Jon Bellion - The Human Condition: 7
- Modern Baseball - Holy Ghost - 7
- Cult Of Luna & Julie Christmas - Mariner: 7
- Death Grips - Bottomless Pit - 7
- BABYMETAL - Metal Resistance: 7
- Melt Yourself Down - Last Evenings On Earth: 7
- Dark Suns - Everchild: 7
- DJ Shadow - The Mountain Will Fall: 7
- Band Of Skulls - By Default: 7
- The Algorithm - Brute Force: 7
- Flume - Skin: 7
- Olaf Stuut - Run: 7
- Katatonia - The Fall Of Hearts: 6.5
- Nick Jonas - Last Year Was Complicated: 6.5
- Red Hot Chili Peppers - The Getaway: 6.5
3-Star Albums (4.5 - 6)
- JMSN - It Is.: 6
- FAWNN - Galaxies: 6
- Skepta - Konnichiwa: 6
- Islands - Taste: 6
- Mogwai - Atomic: 6
- Beartooth - Aggressive: 5.5
- Explosions In The Sky - The Wilderness: 5.5
- The Goo Goo Dolls - Boxes: 5.5
- Chance The Rapper - Coloring Book: 5
- Desiigner - New English: 5
2-Star Albums (2.5 - 4)
1-Star Albums (0 - 2)
Top Albums Of 2016 (so far)
- Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
- AURORA - All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend
- Panic! At The Disco - Death Of A Bachelor
- Deftones - Gore
- Dream Theater - The Astonishing
- Foxes - All I Need
- Daughter - Not To Disappear
- Gojira - Magma
- Thrice - To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere
- Architects - All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us
Top Songs Of 2016 (so far)
- AURORA - 'Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1) (Acoustic)'
- Radiohead - 'True Love Waits'
- Deftones - 'Hearts/Wires'
- Radiohead - 'Daydreaming' *
- Panic! At The Disco - 'Emperor's New Clothes'
- Foxes - 'Better Love'
- Lacey Sturm - 'Rot'
- AURORA - 'Through The Eyes Of A Child'
- Deftones - 'Phantom Bride'
- Thrice - 'Black Honey'
Sometimes the jarring noises of experimental and hardcore hip-hop outfit Death Grips can be uninviting. If you think that, you have a point. And it's not even necessarily wrong - they can be pretty uninviting. But once you move past the voice in your head screaming "NO!", you have a pretty unique listening experience with their newest album, Bottomless Pit.
If you know anything about Death Grips, you know what you're in for. Right off the bat, you're thrown into the raging ferocity of the beat in 'Giving Bad People Good Ideas'. The song starts off gently in the grand scheme of things with an a cappella intro before going in brutally with the rest of the song. Following the opening is 'Hot Head', which is near nonsensical. It feels like it was created specifically to just be crazy, the sheer energy of it being its redeeming factor. The album has some lyrically crazy moments too, unsurprisingly. 'Three Bedrooms In A Good Neighborhood' proudly exclaims "Gloryhole!" in its choruses, and 'Bottomless Pit' contains the intriguing line, "I fucked you in half." MC Ride's visceral vocal style definitely justifies these obscure lines, though. The latter of which is interesting in that, being the closing track on the album, actually sounds somewhat positive in a sense. It's huge and has giant distorted beats, just as previous tracks on the album, like 'Spikes' and 'BB Poison'. This album, as crazy and all over the place as it is, there are some epic moments. 'Houdini' in particular has a killer instrumental, almost futuristic. 'Trash' bares some synths very akin to those found on the latest album from Liturgy (though the track may just be a social commentary on the Internet, which kinda throws it off), and the synth from 'Eh' is also pretty fantastic. 'Bubbles Buried In This Jungle' is almost industrial with its instrumentation, too. The instrumentals of this album are definitely one of its highlights.
Death Grips is an interesting group of individuals. Whatever goes on through their minds is probably better left unquestioned. They seem to channel it through their music, though, giving the world a unique and jarring experience to enjoy (if that's the right term to use here). It's good to know their alleged disbandment in 2014 was just a temporary thing, though. The world needs some crazy. Let's just hope MC Ride gets his Subway sandwich before the next release...
Favorite Tracks: Houdini, Bubbles Buried In This Jungle, Eh
Least Favorite Tracks: Hot Head, 80808