Updated: Aug 27, 2021
“Rage Against the Machine” is the self-titled debut album from the bombastic American rap-rock fusion group released on November 3, 1992. This debut, as well as all of their subsequent follow up releases before disbanding in 2000, were intended as political statements promoting social activism, critiques of U.S. foreign policy, and anti-authoritarianism. The album’s artwork features the 1963 Pulitzer Prize winning photograph from Associated Press correspondent Malcolm Browne depicting the self-immolation of a monk in Saigon protesting the oppression of the Buddhist religion by the U.S. backed Ngô Đình Diệm regime in South Vietnam. The photo sparked international attention, eventually leading to U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s withdrawal of support for the Diệm government. For fans of rock music, the album art solidified RATM’s stance on pertinent social issues and announced the arrival of four multitalented artists/activists, as well as the innovation of an angst fueled, genre bending, hip hop/heavy metal style of music set to take the 90’s and early 2000’s by storm that would later come to be known as “nu metal.” This album introduced listeners to an array of controversial ideas, even going so far as to thank Provisional IPA hunger strike leader Bobby Sands and founder of the Black Panther Party Huey P. Newton in the album’s notes. Charismatic front man Zach de la Rocha attacked the mic with a slam poetry style approach to vocals that many critics likened to Chuck D, the leader of the rap group Public Enemy and eventual successor to de la Rocha in the 2019 supergroup reformation Prophets of Rage. RATM was the first big break for revolutionary guitarist Tom Morello who would ultimately go on to play in the Chris Cornell fronted supergroup Audioslave and introduce innovative new ways of playing guitar to imitate sounds of falling bombs, police sirens, DJ scratching, and much more that can be heard on Rage’s debut album, all created through feedback channels and petal effects. In the album, Rage Against the Machine prominently boast that “no samples, keyboards, or synthesizers [were] used in the making of the record,” and list themselves as the “guilty parties” responsible for this explosive work of art. While follow up records “Evil Empire,” “The Battle of Los Angeles,” and their cover album “Renegades” continue to explore themes of exploitation and injustice, begin your ascent into radicalization by streaming the album that started the revolution with songs like “Bombtrack,” “Killing in the Name,” and “Know Your Enemy” featuring Maynard James Keenan of Tool now on Spotify!