Sunday, August 28, 2011

90's Hit Parade #35

Rage Against the Machine - Killing in the Name

One of the most overplayed songs of the decade: I'd wager that the first 45 seconds of "Killing in the Name" are more recognizable than the opening chords of "Smells Like Teen Spirit." But Rage totally earn that place in the 90's canon. They just tower above the lame funk-metal bands like Living Colour and 24-7 Spyz that people thought were hot shit back then, and nobody remembers now. For one thing, Rage understand metal. Tom Morello does what great metal guitarists do: he makes memorable, heavy riffs. His style of duplicating the Public Enemy "buzz" sound uses techniques similar to those Eddie Van Halen used to make the cool sounds on his classic heavy metal records, then he'll drop a crushing Black Sabbath-style riff into the mix. For another thing, they understand funk--check out that walking bassline on "Guerrilla Radio"and try to imagine anything that cool on a Korn record. It's unpossible! And "Killing in the Name" stands out as a great fucking rock-n-roll record, especially in that amazing moment after the guitar solo, when the whole song is climaxing/falling apart while Zach chants "Fuck you I won't do what you tell me" until the band comes back in even harder, backing up the fuck you chant. Not only that, but they kept the pace up for three LP's, if anything getting better and harder as they went on.


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