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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another fine album from a great band
Sophomore albums can be tricky, but the band only goes through a sophomore slump if their debut was a success. This was the case with Rage Against the Machine; their self-entitled, 1992 debut was a great one, so Rage had to be careful when it came time to write the new album. But great bands do great things, so "Evil Empire" was another great album.

RATM were a...
Published on September 10, 2005 by A. Stutheit

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Rage Against The Machine's best album? Probably, it's got the most handsome cover!
In the 1990's the band called 'Rage Against the Machine' were making a brand of colourful rap-rock that had a message, and that message was hard to fully digest, because Zack de la Rocha, the lead singer, often used big words at a hundred miles an hour, but from what we can tell, it was something like political statements.

I'm sure the band had their heart in...
Published on March 16, 2011 by Tnahpellee


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30 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another fine album from a great band, September 10, 2005
This review is from: Evil Empire (Audio CD)
Sophomore albums can be tricky, but the band only goes through a sophomore slump if their debut was a success. This was the case with Rage Against the Machine; their self-entitled, 1992 debut was a great one, so Rage had to be careful when it came time to write the new album. But great bands do great things, so "Evil Empire" was another great album.

RATM were a great band on several different levels. They formed to spread Zach de la Rocha's political message, but since they (especially guitarist Tom Morello) are such great musicians, the were capable of appealing to everybody, including those who didn't agree with their lyrics. That's how I became a fan, actually; I heard their songs on the radio and I thought they sounded awesome, so I picked up their C.D.'s. And only then did I start to pay attention to, contemplate and appreciate the lyrics.

But Zach and Tom were also great because they were so innovative and influential. Zach was about the first vocalist to meld rap and rock...but he sure wasn't the last. And, if you listen closely enough, you'll hear a lot of bands (bands from Limp Bizkit to Meshuggah) imitate Tom Morello's picking.

I believe Rage Against the Machine were a hard rock band because they were always inspired by something, and always pissed off. This may explain why Audioslave is almost an alternative metal band (they don't have as nearly as much anger to vent). And it's too bad Audioslave is quite a bit softer, because I think Tom was meant to play hard rock. It's also too bad that Rage disbanded, because, with recent events, I'm sure Zach de la Rocha would have plenty of things to write and rap about.

"People of the Sun" has a famous opening guitar riff and an unusually loud, beeping bass. Zach eventually launches into the first verse, which is a very political tirade about the Mexican people's revolution against the government. Tom makes some sound effects, letting Zach run wild-filling this song to the brim with angry rapping. This is more of a rap song than metal.

-Best lyric: "Yea, never forget that the whip snapped ya back/ya spine cracked for tobacco."

"Bulls on Parade" is one of Rage's most recognizable songs. It has groovy, "ner nah ner" sounding guitar noise, which periodically change to wah-wah guitar riffs, and more pissed off rapping (about people who run around shooting everybody else). The real highlight to me, here, is the guitar solo. What is that guy doing to his fret board?!

-Best lyric: "They don't gotta burn the books/they just remove `em"

"Revolver" begins with a low, humming noise, before the guitars and the beat explode around forty seconds in. Zach is, at first, almost whispering, and I enjoy the almost galloping beat which leads into the chorus (which has some downshifting riffs and more of Zach's famous yells). I also enjoy the ten second, thumping bass drum solo following the second chorus.

-Best lyric: "Hey revolver/don't mothers make good fathers?"

"Snakecharmer" is very catchy. It has a lunging beat with stop-start riffs, at the end of which Zach yells "Yeah!" Plus, there's a small hand drum solo thrown in, as well.

"Tire Me" has another great, bending, up and down guitar solo,

and "Down Rodeo" has catchy, beeping guitar riffs and another audible, lowly rumbling bass. Zach does his usual thing in this song, but then a great, abrupt beat change kicks in and Zach starts yelling "Just a quiet, peaceful death!"

-Best lyric: "These people ain't seen a brown-skinned man since their grandparents bought one."

So, "Evil Empire" is another classic, standard setting album which finely displays Rage's talent. Ultimately, it's not as groundbreaking as their debut, it's (musically) not a big step forward from their debut, and it is, in my opinion, RATM's least inspired disc. Even still, "EE" is an excellent C.D. and I recommend it to all hard rock/rapcore/political rock fans. So what's that say for this band--that "Evil Empire" might be their worst disc, but it's still great? It means that they were a truly great band which lead a remarkable and nearly flawless career.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great album, but not as groundbreaking as their debut, February 5, 2003
This review is from: Evil Empire (Audio CD)
Say whatever you will about Rage Against the Machine's political agenda; whether it was dead on the money or misguided is up to the listener, but what can be agreed on is "Evil Empire", Rage's long awaited follow up to their groundbreaking self titled debut album, is a great headbanging album that displays the band's talents at they're full extents. Vocalist Zack De La Rocha can rap as furious as any hip hopper, and sounds better on here than he did on the self titled album. Guitarist Tom Morello, bassist Tim Commorford, and drummer Brad Wilk round out the rhythm section, all of which are fantastic musicians (although I liked Morello's solos better on the first album), and adrenaline charged songs like "People of the Sun", "Bulls on Parade", "Vietnow", and "Tire Me" are all great songs, maybe some of Rage's best, but "Evil Empire" is best listened to for the band itself, not any kind of political agenda. Eventually Zack would leave the band in 2000, and the rest of the band would form Audioslave with former Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell; and Rage is sadly missed by their loyal following of fans. All in all, "Evil Empire" is a great album, but I suggest checking out Rage's debut first, an album that is more focused lyrically and musically than any other album in Rage's catalog.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Their best album, July 27, 2005
This review is from: Evil Empire (Audio CD)
Many reviewers here suggest that RATM's first album was their best, but I disagree. In my opinion, the first album suffered from predictable riffs (actually a common problem with this band - they rely way too much on basic blues-scale riffs) and excessively trite, junior-high-civics level lyrics. YES, it was performed by first-rate musicians whose passion and energy rivaled that of any band on the planet! But at the end of the day... their debut was still not that inovative, aside from Tom Morello's guitar sound.

But with Evil Empire, Rage took a daring new approach: cut back (almost eliminate) any conventional guitar solo, and slow the groove a bit. The result is a collection of songs that have a much more unique sound. There is nothing on the debut that is as distinctive-sounding as "Wind Below"; "People of The Sun" and "Bulls On Parade" find Morello unleashing ever-more-insane guitar sounds, which perfectly suit the songs; and "Down Rodeo" features Zack at his most self-righteous, but he doesn't cross over into the kind of empty cliche-mongering that marred the debut.

Overall, this is the most unusual of Rage's three proper "albums." (Renegades should be considered apart from the three self-composed releases) They took the most chances, musically, and for this I consider it their finest hour.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars There are a lot of naive listeners here, May 22, 2005
This review is from: Evil Empire (Audio CD)
At first when I listened to the album, I was all in for the good riffs and the angrish rage. But I did not understand the meanings or their aim. If I kept this perspective, I would have blindly reviewed their material and commenting only on morello's guitar talent, or the potential this band could have, or zack's political rants. But, as I did some research over the meaning, and this is what I found on zack's site.

People of the Sun

This song was first written about the original California Chicano natives. But as the song developed more, the lyrics changed to focus on the Zapatista Movement in southern Mexico. The Zapatistas, an army of indigenous farmers in Chiapas, Mexico, launched an armed uprising on January 1, 1994.

Bulls on Parade

Bulls on Parade discusses the American structure of force -- from the armed forces to the C.I.A.

Vietnow

This song slams right wing AM radio shows such as "The G. Gordon Liddy Show", "Rush Limbaugh" and "The Laura Schleschinger Show". With completle media control, these programs are able to dominate airwaves with propaganda of the right. Fear is what controls those who listen to these programs.

Revolver

Zack describes the horrific conditions of domestic violence u.

Snakecharmer

01 (Hugh Pouliot): The struggle and sorrow of being revolutionary.

02 (Phillip Lomax): A snakecharmer controls a snake and the song is about you being controled and used by people who say they are your friends, but these people are lying and dont want to know you when something new comes along example lyrics:- "Your friendship disapears when the wind re-directs!" This song could also point to you being used by your government!

Tire Me

Zack has said that this song was written to "celebrate the death of Richard Nixon". I think it's rather self-explanatory.

Rollin' Down Rodeo

The poor people in the ghetto must direct their anger toward the class which causes their misery. This is most easily done by rolling down Rodeo Drive with a shotgun in hand. The lower classes only kill themselves by destroying eachother and their neighbourhoods. also this song is about racism against rich blacks, and how they are unofficially banned from places like rodeo drive "these people ain't seen a brown - skinned man since thier grandparents bought one"

Without a Face

Explaining the plight of Mexican immigrants in America. United States officials and representatives build Berlin Walls across the border to preserve the 'purity of christian values'.

Wind Below

This was based on the essay, "The Southeast in Two Winds" by Subcomandante Marcos. Marcos describes the Zapatistas, and the Chiapas as "the wind below"...as it is rising up, and a storm is brewing. This song is about the movement, and the EZLN's fight for justice. The United States media silences the movement.

Roll Right

"Send them to the seventh level" is referring to Dante's nine levels of hell, the seventh being the place where war-mongers are sent.

Year of the Boomerang

Frantz Fanon coined the phrase "Year of the Boomerang" in a speech about the time when violent uprisings will come back and nail imperialists in the face.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars soundtrack for a RIOT, October 1, 2003
By 
This review is from: Evil Empire (Audio CD)
i will say it again: this band is thee greatest rap rock band ever. intense with huge musical muscle and plenty of venom to fuel thier rage. phenonimal musicians with a phenonimal frontman, with a strong sense of musicianship and still melodic enough to hum the melodies. basically it is black sabbath meets public enemy.
zach is an intense frontman with great rapping ability and plenty to say. i agree with amazon that sometiems he is too broad in his message and sometimes you cannot understand his words but thats why I read the lyrics in the booklet. still, he is a force to be reckoned with. his lyrical bombs are angry and potent. he rages while he raps, part rock scream and part rapper and all the while lighting fires and leaving a trail as he explodes.
the band is an inferno. brad and tim funkin it up in the back drop as tom morello uses his guitar to create soundscapes, riffs and chords to dazzle. he is a very different guitar player, combining both traditional playing with some off the wall playing. at times the sounds he creates sound almost like a DJ.
this album may not be as radical as thier first but it is more more intense. there was nothing on their first album that sounded as furious as REVOLVER. the band explodes behind (and along with) zach and the four of them together are one of the most furious and incredible forces ever to create music.
this album has some of the most accesible music. songs like PEOPLE OF THE SUN and BULLS ON PARADE are pure melodic rocked out and funked up bombs. this album was (for lack of a better word) the most accesible the band has ever been.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Evil Empire, April 1, 2006
By 
This review is from: Evil Empire (Audio CD)
Evil Empire by Rage Against The Machine ****

To start with, I can't belive I am writing a review about Rage Against The Machine and not to mention a good one. I swore I would never own any of their records because I had a mind set that they were and overated-bad band....I was 12. While I liked what they stood for I just couldnt figure the rap and rock thing out, I thought they had no place together except when Aerosmith and Run DMC are together. I thought Tom Morello was a horrible guitarist and super incredibly overated. Boy was I worng, since those days Rage Against The Machine have become one of my favorite modern bands as well as of all time. I still dont like the rap/metal genra, these guys are the exception. Tom Morello has grown on me and is now one of my all time favorite guitarist and influnces as a guitar player myself. I actually feel he is now underated and doesnt get the credit he deserves for his movement in guitar during the 1990's. Super original. Tim Commerford is in my opinion the greatest bass player of all time, yes I said the best! Brad Wilk is maybe the worlds greatest drummer, I mean this band is just simply amazing, and now the fact that thye are now with Chris Cornell of soundgarden (another great band) in Audioslave is almost the coolest thing ever. Zakk's lyrics are great and the sunbject matter is always powerfull, and very rarely contrived. While yes Evil Empire is not the album the debut was it is still a first rate album, drawing more influences and meaning and feeling behind the music then before, which in some cases can be a very bad thing but here is nice and it works wonderfuly.

'People Of The Sun' opens the album. One of the bands signature songs and all time best. With a great chorus and a killer guitar riff. The drumming by Wilk on 'People' is some of his all time best. 'Bulls On Parade' is next to 'Know Your Enemy' as my favorite Rage Against The Machine song. With a nice guitar riff by Morelloe and Tom and a bass line from mars by Tim this song rocks. The lyrics are some of Zakks best in my opinion and the chorus is the bands all time best, hands down. Also the guitar solo is concidered to be Tom Morellos all time best. 'Veitnow' is a killer song and is the perfect track to follow 'Bulls.' Could have easily been another hit single by the band but it was never released. Killer guitar riff by the way! 'Revolver' is my least favorite song on the album as Im finding that most pther fans agree with me. I dont know but it seems to me that this songs is the sound of the band starting to pull aprt from each other. Tom, Tim, and Brad this way <------ and Zakk this way ------>. Because after this album the band started t drift further and further apart. 'Snakecharmer' is a cool song, infact it's one of the best on the album. 'Tire Me' is a cool song but like its title it gets tiring after a few listens. 'Down Rodeo' is one of the best songs Rage Against The Machine ever created. It's also one of my all time favorite songs by anyone. Just perfectly constructed and executed, deffienetly one of their best. 'Without A Face' is an alright song it's just a little bit slower which the band actually pulls of pretty well. It's not the typical song you would expect from the band. A real nice change of pace for the album. 'Wind Below' and 'Roll Right' both remind me of each other every time I hear them and I couldnt imagine hearing them unless they were back to back like this, it's really the only way I like these songs is together. Because alone I feel that these songs would be nothing, it's almost as if they feed off of each other. I wonder if the band did that on purpose. 'Year Of The Bommerang' is a decent song but I feel that it could have been a lot better. It seems forced and rushed which doesnt make for a very good song, not the strongest song to close the album. I think they should have gotten rid of this wrote a new song in it's place and had 'Down Rodeo' close the album, it would have been perfect, because I do usually skip 'Year Of The Bommerang' and go to another cd.

So like I stated, Evil Empire is not the bands best album but it is however far from being a bad album by any means. None of the songs can truly be called 'BAD.' Each member of hte band shines bright on their own and together they made up one of the worlds all time greatest andmost important bands, and Evil Empire is a great representation of that, so would I recomend this album to anyone, of course, anyone who is interested.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars to those who hate the band, September 13, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Evil Empire (Audio CD)
To those of you who hate the band,
The whole reason you dont like the band is because you dont understand. For your whole life you have let the government and people in general push you around and tell you what to do. In my opinion you have no spine; your afraid to speak your mind because you are afraid to step on some toes.
To those who think America is the "land of the free"
This country is anything but free. Every day some buerocrats who dont care about the people pass laws without us even knowing. Then we get busted for doing something we didnt even know was against the law! This is not freeedom, this country has never known freedom, and if you dont believe me watch the news on the first day of the new year and see the books of new laws that they have passed that you dont know about. If our government is so concerned about freedom then why do we have to play "world cop"? Come on people, open your eyes and see that the best thing for this country would be a revolution. I support the band all the way and if you dont, then dont listen!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sonic Rap Carnage, May 13, 2000
By 
Amir Tajakin (Orange, California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Evil Empire (Audio CD)
What the Limp Biizkit followers of today's youth generation don't understand about Rage Against the Machine is that they don't really care about how many records Korn are selling or how much Ozzy Osbourne likes them to put the band on his tour. No, they care more about the important things about America like how 1500 bodies are found on the U.S./Mexico border every year or how our nation is not using our hard earned cash for improvement of the government, but for landfills. Evil Empire demonstrates the sheer power of political lyrics in music in the vein of The Clash or L7. The best songs on here are Vietnow, People of the Sun, Year of tha Boomerang, and Without a Face. Tim's bass is amazing, Tom is a guitar god, Zack's rasta-core rapping is as strong as ever, and Brad Wilk's drum intros on songs like People of the Sun or Vietnow are consistent and amazing. I suggest groups like L7, Public Enemy, and N.W.A. if you like this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Flippin' excellent, August 8, 2008
By 
This review is from: Evil Empire (Audio CD)
When "Evil Empire" came out in '96, I - like many - was expecting a bombastic array of accessible riffage, heavy ranting and slick production similar to RATM's debut. What we got was a grimy, dark and sinister effort that demonstrated RATM's hiphop and punk influences. This was a shock. And it probably explains why it took me a while to get into. Now tho, this album deals out huge satisfaction. Everything about it is great: Zack de la Rocha's voice is so aggressive, so vitriolic and just so downright convincing; the guitars and bass (oh, the BASS!) are dialled in to just the right frequencies, so each is heard equally, even though they often play the same thing; and the drums - although not jaw dropping - add support and dynamics. The only thing I missed was Tom Morello's speedy guitar shenanigans - but even these aren't missed hugely because the tunes don't cry out for them like their first album did. Walking down the street listening to this album on headphones is what I imagine it's like to be on heroin - makes you feel 10 foot tall and bullets will bounce off you. Together with Mr Bungle's "California" and Soundgarden's "Superunknown", I have my desert island discs (and a stellar slab of 1990's rock). "Evil Empire" is an essential purchase for rock connoisseurs everywhere.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another fine album from a great band, July 6, 2005
By 
Teyad "Andreaabs" (Littleton, Colorado) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Evil Empire (Audio CD)
Sophomore albums can be tricky, but the band only goes through a sophomore slump if their debut was a success. This was the case with Rage Against the Machine; their self-entitled, 1992 debut was a great one, so Rage had to be careful when it came time to write the new album. But great bands do great things, so "Evil Empire" was another great album.

RATM were a great band on several different levels. They formed to spread Zach de la Rocha's political message, but since they (especially guitarist Tom Morello) are such great musicians, the were capable of appealing to everybody, including those who didn't agree with their lyrics. That's how I became a fan, actually; I heard their songs on the radio and I thought they sounded awesome, so I picked up their C.D.'s. And only then did I start to pay attention to, contemplate and appreciate the lyrics.

But Zach and Tom were also great because they were so innovative and influential. Zach was about the first vocalist to meld rap and rock...but he sure wasn't the last. And, if you listen closely enough, you'll hear a lot of bands (bands from Limp Bizkit to Meshuggah) imitate Tom Morello's picking.

I believe Rage Against the Machine were a hard rock band because they were always inspired by something, and always pissed off. This may explain why Audioslave is almost an alternative metal band (they don't have as nearly as much anger to vent). And it's too bad Audioslave is quite a bit softer, because I think Tom was meant to play hard rock. It's also too bad that Rage disbanded, because, with recent events, I'm sure Zach de la Rocha would have plenty of things to write and rap about.

"People of the Sun" has a famous opening guitar riff and an unusually loud, beeping bass. Zach eventually launches into the first verse, which is a very political tirade about the Mexican people's revolution against the government. Tom makes some sound effects, letting Zach run wild-filling this song to the brim with angry rapping. This is more of a rap song than metal.

-Best lyric: "Yea, never forget that the whip snapped ya back/ya spine cracked for tobacco."

"Bulls on Parade" is one of Rage's most recognizable songs. It has groovy, "ner nah ner" sounding guitar noise, which periodically change to wah-wah guitar riffs, and more pissed off rapping (about people who run around shooting everybody else). The real highlight to me, here, is the guitar solo. What is that guy doing to his fret board?!

-Best lyric: "They don't gotta burn the books/they just remove `em"

"Revolver" begins with a low, humming noise, before the guitars and the beat explode around forty seconds in. Zach is, at first, almost whispering, and I enjoy the almost galloping beat which leads into the chorus (which has some downshifting riffs and more of Zach's famous yells). I also enjoy the ten second, thumping bass drum solo following the second chorus.

-Best lyric: "Hey revolver/don't mothers make good fathers?"

"Snakecharmer" is very catchy. It has a lunging beat with stop-start riffs, at the end of which Zach yells "Yeah!" Plus, there's a small hand drum solo thrown in, as well.

"Tire Me" has another great, bending, up and down guitar solo,

and "Down Rodeo" has catchy, beeping guitar riffs and another audible, lowly rumbling bass. Zach does his usual thing in this song, but then a great, abrupt beat change kicks in and Zach starts yelling "Just a quiet, peaceful death!"

-Best lyric: "These people ain't seen a brown-skinned man since their grandparents bought one."

So, "Evil Empire" is another classic, standard setting album which finely displays Rage's talent. Ultimately, it's not as groundbreaking as their debut, it's (musically) not very far removed from their debut, and it is, in my opinion, RATM's least inspired disc. Even still, "EE" is an excellent C.D. and I recommend it to all hard rock/rapcore/political rock fans. So what's that say for Rage Against the Machine (that "Evil Empire" might be Rage's worst disc, but it's still great)? It means that they were a truly great band which lead a remarkable and nearly flawless career.
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Evil Empire
Evil Empire by Rage Against The Machine (Audio CD - 1996)
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