Turn That Noise Down - Rage Against the Machine

So many well-known albums turn 30 this year and Steve Taylor-Bryant and Susan Omand travel back to 1992 to revisit some of the sounds of their youth that made parents shout "Turn that noise down!" This week, Steve rages against the machine...

1992 was the year that video driven hairspray rock started to lose breath and new ways of making rock music were appearing, with grunge and the like really taking off. It was, however, an eye-opening year for me musically as I discovered social and political commentary music, activistism put to melody if you will, and if you want to get people to hear your message it has to clear, concise, and majorly fucking loud! 1992 was the year Tom Morello, Tim Commerford, Brad Will, and Zack de la Rocha reinvented what you could do with music and Rage Against the Machine smacked you in the face and screamed into your brain but with a stellar musicality that I hadn’t really heard before. Even the cover, a photograph of Thích Quảng Đức* a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist who set fire to himself in protest of the treatment of Buddhists by the staunch catholic government of the day, gives your mind no let up at all and we’ve not even pressed play yet!

The album explodes into life with the double whammy of Bombtrack and Killing in the Name which gives you nine and a half minutes of stylish heavy music enhanced by a vocalist who had range, could spit the venom when needed and back off when required. If you were in any doubt what the band were all about before you bought the album those two tracks, more so than any other on the album due the massive exposure these tracks got, leave you in a clear mind as to what journey the rest of the album is going to take you on. There isn’t a musically, lyrically, commercially, or any other metric you want to use, track on the record. Every tune has a message delivered with a punch to the throat and other highlights for me after the album's opening duo are Bullet in the Head and Wake Up.

Rage Against the Machine opened the door for other styles of rock music, reinvented protest music, went on to give us Audioslave and Brass Against, and never wrote a song that feels dated or irrelevant. Every track on the self titled debut album plays today like it was written today, the messages are still important, the music and lyric delivery are still impressive, and Rage Against the Machine have never been bettered.

Learn more about Thích Quảng Đức here

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