Don’t look for Revelations here

By By Danny Letz

By Danny Letz



Epic Records

Three-and-a-half out of five stars

Like any underachieving child, Audioslave elicits in people an equally compelling impulse to both throttle and cuddle the unfortunate little waif.

I say cuddle because, let’s face it, Audioslave is working in the shadow of two of the greatest bands of the last 15 years-Rage Against the Machine and Soundgarden.

But I also say throttle because the band’s previous work shows it can do better.

Audioslave’s third release, Revelations, though more consistent and rounded out than the band’s last effort, Out of Exile, still leaves much to be wished for.

The title track provides an excellent showcase for singer Cornell’s vocal virtuosity, followed by “One and the Same,” which reminds us that Tom Morello still has the ability to transform his guitar into an instrument that sounds little like your typical five-string excuse for a power chord.

The remainder of the album, however, is so tied up in banality and the blas that it seems the perfect model for FM radio waves, and that is Revelations’ biggest con.

Punctuated by the foot-stamping beat of “Original Fire” and the bass heavy, guitar-reeling groove of “Broken City,” the remainder of the tracks seem like leftover singles constructed to test the number of “hits” the album can score on mainstream waves. There are few to no “deep tracks” (radio unfriendly tracks) and even fewer tracks that risk originality.

“Shape of Things to Come,” “Wide Awake” and “Moth” all follow the selfsame formula: A slow-moving intro that lasts 30 to 50 seconds is followed by a chorus flooded with an excess of repetitive power chords, heavy drums and Cornell capping it off with a forceful burst of pseudo-singing/pseudo-screaming; repeat as necessary for five to six minutes.

The most frustrating aspect of Revelations is that these guys have worked in this genre before.

Let’s be clear: Audioslave is by no means untalented or at all out of its element. Yet one almost wishes the band were out of its element, as it might lend some originality to an otherwise average album. It feels like Audioslave has grown comfortable, and the work suffers because of the band’s complacency.

I’m sure there are those who will take instantly to Audioslave’s latest work, and one can look forward to hearing these tracks on the airwaves for weeks and months to come. However, one shouldn’t be too quick to let Audioslave off the hook. It can do better, and listeners should demand as much.

Let’s not forget the adage: If you spare the rod, you spoil the child.