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Audioslave

A supergroup or just simply a group downsizing their moniker and replacing their lead singer, AUDIOSLAVE served a post-millennium frenzy for everything metal.
RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE had taken their bow late 2000 when rapper/singer Zack de la Rocha sought other outlets to pursue, leaving Messrs Tom Morello (guitar), Tom Commerford (bass) and Brad Wilk (drums) in limbo. The following May, rumours were rife that former SOUNDGARDEN frontman and solo artist CHRIS CORNELL was in place at the helm, and the word on the street was that the post-grunge quartet would get underway at the 2002 Ozzfest. Sadly, it proved all too much for Chris who opted out, only to return when direction squabbles and the group moniker (AUDIOSLAVE, rather than Civilian) was decided. Like so many so-called supergroup amalgamations, this much-heralded project failed to fully live up to the hype: pitting Cornell’s 70s sludge predilections against the militant sonic efficiency of RATM was never going to result in fireworks although admittedly it didn’t end in tears. The group’s eponymous debut, AUDIOSLAVE (2002) {*6} – featuring ‘Floyd/`Zeppelin sleeve designer Storm Thorgerson – was a curious beast, coming together definitively on the single `Cochise’, but otherwise sounding only partly realised, lacking either the sting of RATM or the grand designs of Cornell. Tracks such as `What You Are’, `Like A Stone’ and `Shadow On The Sun’ had the stamp of CC’s old band, SOUNDGARDEN, while Morello and Co muscled in when things took a decidedly funky turn.
AUDIOSLAVE returned a few of years later with OUT OF EXILE (2005) {*7}, a disarmingly straight-down-the-line rock album which did a lot to dissolve any remaining suspicions attached to the supergroup tag. A chart topper in America and a UK Top 5, the record’s more holistic, melodic approach precluded any real pigeonholing but if anything, there was a distinct grunge-esque lustre – admittedly much of it to do with Cornell’s increasingly EDDIE VEDDER-esque tones – to such wholesomely laid back fare as the psych-sweet `Dandelion’ and `Doesn’t Remind Me’ (a minor hit).
Released only a matter of a sixteen months later, AUDIOSLAVE’s third album REVELATIONS (2006) {*6} was delivered under a cloud of speculation that this would be their swansong set; CORNELL had been in the studio for a prospective solo record which also entailed a theme contribution to the Bond movie, Casino Royale; Morello was also moonlighting in his solo project, The NIGHTWATCHMAN. But anyway, this near chart-topping record brought together a collision of volatile verse and beefy backing, highlighting we’ve-heard-it-all-before tracks `Sound Of A Gun’, `Original Fire’ and `Somedays’. And that was that as the aforementioned rumours proved to be correct – for once.
© MC Strong 2004-2006/GRD // rev-up MCS Feb2013

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