Tom Morello mashes his rock roots together with electronica, hip-hop, and more in his diverse new record The Atlas Underground.Read More
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
Several live statements later, and Prophets Of Rage are delivering their first EP. The supergroup consisting of members of Rage Against The Machine, Cypress Hill, and Public Enemy are here with their debut EP, The Party's Over. If you already liked this project, you'll like this EP, but chances are you'll be wanting more either way.
We've already reviewed the band's debut single, the introduction song to the project titled 'Prophets Of Rage' - read our review for a more in-depth insight on it. The context on this EP makes it a little less substantial, though. It's a great intro track and definitely gets you pumped up, but it's followed by the new song 'The Party's Over,' which has a stronger drive to it. It sounds angrier and more upfront, almost aggressive. That's the true spirit of this band, and their projects in the past. It's lyrics are a bit more angsty and less substantial than 'Prophets' by just a bit, but the instrumental kicks its ass. It features a signature Tom Morello solo near the end and just has a bigger punch to it. 'The Party's Over' makes 'Prophets Of Rage' feel like less of a track.
The rest of the EP consists of three live tracks, and it's just nothing really special at all. Rage Against The Machine's 'Killing In The Name' is first on the list, and it's just a standard performance of the song. It has that good old raw feeling you'd hear from old RATM recordings, but there's probably better performances out there on the Internet you could listen to. 'Shut Em Down' by Public Enemy is next on the list, and this one is actually a bit different, featuring a cool guitar intro from Tom Morello. The rest of the song is pretty average, besides the killer solo Morello delivers in the bridge. It's interesting to note that all of the members of the group have played this song before: Public Enemy, obviously, being the recording artists, and Cypress Hill did a cover of it in 2010 featuring Tom Morello. It's familiar territory for all of them. The last song is a cover of the Beastie Boys' 'No Sleep Till Brooklyn' entitled 'No Sleep Till Cleveland' (in reference to the 2016 Republican National Convention). There's nothing real to comment on besides the fact they don't substitute "Cleveland" in place of "Brooklyn" until the end of the song. You'd figure they'd do it for the entire song. At least the solo is good. Tom Morello is this band's only savings grace.
At this point, I don't really know what to think of this group. When they first announced their mission, there was so much hope; the 80s and 90s revolutionary scene was coming back! Rage Against The Machine is basically back! But no, it's all becoming one big cluster of trying to be edgy. It's becoming less of a political statement and more like they're a group of angsty teenagers looking to make some cash and speak their minds on Trump all at the same time by playing covers of RATM. Perhaps everything will start to gel together as they play more; they're currently on tour across North America. For now, though, you can't really say much more than "well, okay" by the fact these guys exist.
Prophets Of Rage are slowly becoming more like the Profits Of Rage. Time will tell what these guys bring - maybe a full length LP not consisting mostly of live tracks will bring some worth to this project. It's a hit or miss right now, and currently they're only shooting misses. There's hope, but right now everything's looking pretty grim.
Favorite Track: The Party's Over
Least Favorite Track: Prophets Of Rage (and the live stuff, simply for lack of effort)
Rating: 50 / 100
There are few things people want more than a Rage Against The Machine revival. What we got is what people didn't know they wanted: a supergroup consisting of members of RATM, Public Enemy, and Cypress Hill. That would be Prophets Of Rage, whose mission is clear: "We're an elite task force of revolutionary musicians determined to confront this mountain of election year bullshit, and confront it head-on with Marshall stacks blazing," as Tom Morello put it. With the turmoil of America's most tense election yet, the Prophets are ready to make their voices loud and clear, and hopefully do the same for their listeners.
There isn't too much too their debut single 'Prophets Of Rage'. The song was released It started with a siren before Tom Morello delivers a blistering punk rock riff he's known for (no weird effects in this one, though!). The song truly is a simple one, the verses hard and featuring a dinky bent guitar reprising itself over a distorted bass line while Chuck D, DJ Lord, and B-Real all deliver enraged verses before going into the call-to-arms chorus that chants, "Clear the way / Clear the way / I'm away from the prophets of rage!"
This recording lives up to its predecessor; the first verse stays true to Public Enemy's own 'Prophets Of Rage' from 1988's It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back. Both tracks, as well as sharing titles, also can claim they share the proud declaration of "The points made / You consider it done / By the prophets of rage!" Prophets Of Rage are taking the hip-hop flair of Public Enemy and adding the groove of Rage Against The Machine - a combination that was built to work from the start.
The Prophets Of Rage have a busy year ahead of them. The turmoil of this election season is nowhere near over, and November 8 likely won't be the end of it. This supergroup is carrying the flag on their backs, and they're not letting it fall any time soon. Make way for the Prophets Of Rage.
Rating: 70 / 100