Friday, June 17, 2005

CD Review: Audioslave - Out Of Exile

Audioslave seems to be treading ground similar to that of Led Zeppelin. The album trajectory of Led Zeppelin arced out and almost every album was better than the last. The cohesion built up, and artistic/egotistical conflicts raged on.

With their second album, "Out Of Exile", Audioslave proves many critics wrong, and delivers a satisfying blend of alt-metal & classic rock. There is much to plumb in this album, reminiscent of many influences.

"Your Time Has Come" is an emotive anti-war aria, redolent of the best work of the War Poets, metal-style."I've seen 50,000 names all engraved on a stone /Most of them men under the grave years before I was born/All of them left brothers and sisters and mothers behind/And most of their family and friends have all had their time
I've been wandering sideways/I've stared straight into the sun/And I don't know why you're dying/Long before your time has come"

Compare this with Wilfred Owen's "Anthem For Doomed Youth"
What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles' rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries for them; no prayers nor bells,
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, --
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

The title song, "Out Of Exile", could have been sung by Odysseus on his long-lasting voyage of self-discovery. The song expresses the ardent need of the lonely warrior to return home, to sanctuary and wholeness.

"Be Yourself" comes ready for radio-play, with manifold hooks and themes of identity, independence and death. The middle-section features some great fret-work. "Someone finds salvation in everyone/And another only fame/Someone tries to hide himself/Down inside their selfish brain/Someone swears his true love/Untill the end of time/Another runs away/Separate or united?/Healthy or insane?"

"Doesn't Remind Me" is a middling song. It is, however, a fine paean to laughter and forgetting, to losing sight of the here and now.

"Drown Me Slowly" returns to the hard-driving world of Soundgarden. It layers distortion with powerful vocals, and a tempo in places that reminds one of Crowded House' "Weather With You"

"Heaven's Dead" is a song with vivid images, dealing with giving comfort to the sorrowful. It is set in a slower tempo than the previous one. "Shipwreck the sun, I'm on your side/An army of one, onward we'll ride/And whisper your songs, birds to the air/We'll bury all of our burdens there"

"The Worm" expresses the angst of youth, the rebirth into maturity and manhood, and perhaps even a messianic enlightenment. "Was a time early in life/When I hated everything/Born too young, top of my lungs/Sitting on the bottom rung/Took advice from the wrong shoulder/Took a lot of everything/I've decided to make it alright with myHalo--I'm complete/Halo--with me underneath/Halo--I'm reborn/I can do no wrong" The hubris of youth

"Man or Animal" is an erotic song, rich with promises made, passionate commitments."I will love you more than money/I will breathe you in the smoke/I will drink you in my honey/Sweet and golden down my throat"

"Yesterday To Tommorrow" and "Dandelion" seem like they were plucked from their first album. Good, not great

"#1 Zero" is a good song dealing with faithfulness. The slow tempo is apt, and the song pretty tight.

"The Curse" wraps up the album with some harder riffs, and a promise to be true.

In toto, a consistently good album, and promise of good things to come from the band.

Out of Exile/Audioslave X&Y/Coldplay Lullabies to Paralyze/Queens of the Stone Age

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