The year is 1999, people are starting to get hysterical over Y2K and Rage Against The Machine are about to release their final album, the very underrated unsung masterpiece, The Battle Of Los Angeles. Debuting at number one on the billboard charts, the twelve songs on the album are armed with heavy influence from George Orwell’s 1984, making for some very eerie foreshadowing statements on what the future will bring us. Songs like “Testify,” Guerrilla Radio,” “Sleep Now In The Fire,” “Voice of the Voiceless,” and a few others have direct quotes from the book, and go on to mention more Orwellian terms. The album kicks off with 3 songs of explosive rage (pun intended haha) with “Testify,” “Guerrilla Radio,” and “Calm Like A Bomb.” Then the album shifts for a song with “Mic Check.” “Sleep Now In The Fire” takes the album back up a few notches with anger and fury, leading us into one of the best songs on the album “Born Of A Broken Man.” The next couple songs musically, tend to lean towards showing off Tom Morello’s talents with a whammy bar and a fuzz pedal. Lyrically though “Born As Ghosts” and “Maria” are strong and angry, showing off Zach De La Rocha’s venomous lyrics. “Voice Of The Voiceless” has strong connections to a favorite of the band in Mumia Abu Jamal, as well as 1984, as I mentioned above and has a bit of a funk vibe to the music. “New Millennium Homes” is a solid song, with a cool groove, that perfectly sets up my favorite Rage Against The Machine song appears on The Battle Of L.A., “Ashes In The Fall.” Lyrically and musically, Ashes brings something different to the table. This is along the same lines as how epic some songs on the first album were. The song also brings a brilliance to how tight and good Brad Wilk and Tim Commerford are together. Tom Morello’s guitar work especially in the bridge section and the ending highlight his talents even more. Closing out the album is “War Within A Breath” which picks up where Ashes leaves off, then finishes with a fury of signature Rage.
The Battle of Los Angeles to me is the second best album the band put out. In terms of songwriting and passion, this album soars above Evil Empire. Tom Morello, Brad Wilk, Tim Commerford and Zach De La Rocha were magical together. They were able to create awareness and invoke the youth to open their eyes and stand up. Something that is missing from music today. Battle is an album that upped the game a bit more for the band. Their albums stand the test of time. Keeping in mind that the band hasn’t released anything new since 1999, not much has changed in the world, making their albums more relatable than ever.
Rage Against The Machine- The Battle Of Los Angeles: