Rage Against the Machine
Many albums composed entirely of covers feature one or two good tracks, but overall they’re as bloated and directionless as the egos behind the mike. Here’s a rare exception. Recorded as vocalist Zack de la Rocha prepared to (amicably) leave the band, the disc features choice interpretations of landmark rock, rap and punk songs that share one common theme: protest. That’s best summed-up on a smoldering version of Bob Dylan’s “Maggie’s Farm.” Infused with a funky, distorted bass line (this CD seethes with overdriven bass), Rage captures the essential defiance of this folkie classic. Other choice tracks include “Pistol Grip Pump” from Volume 10 and a sly reworking of Afrika Bambaataa’s “Renegades of Funk.” Rage creates a staccato Cypress Hill on “How I Could Just Kill a Man” and de la Rocha’s sure control on “Microphone Fiend” only makes you wonder: Who’s gonna be able to fill this guy’s shoes?