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.