Track Review: Audioslave
Audioslave’s 2002 self-titled debut album was pretty good. Tom Morello and his buddies from Rage Against the Machine had toned it down a little bit, but with Chris Cornell’s pipes at the forefront, their potential seemed almost unlimited. Three years later came “Out of Exile”, a collection of what seemed like recycled riffs and predictable (though still well-executed) arrangements that occasionally betrayed the fact that there was still some life in the group. But now, only a year after their last release, it seems like Audioslave is finally dead.
When Matt told me a couple weeks ago that Audioslave had posted its new single, “Original Fire”, on Myspace, we quickly got to a computer and, after waiting five minutes for the damn thing to buffer, listened to the first minute before turning it off. The several times I’ve listened to the track since then have been even less pleasant. Trust me: there is nothing here worth throwing away four minutes of your life for.
Let me tell you why: Morello, considered by many to be one of the most exciting, talented, and innovative guitarists of his time for his work with RATM, decided to ignore his inner genius and instead chose play one of the most boring and clichéd minor-pentatonic riffs I’ve ever heard and then fuck things up even worse with a solo that sounds like a wife yelling at her husband in the most grating voice she can conjure. Cornell, also one of the great talents of his time, sticks to his guns with soul-influenced rock vocals, but one listen his vocals on almost any other of his songs and it becomes painfully clear that he’s sleepwalking through this track, omitting the raw energy and sense of dynamics and leaving only a stale amalgamation of previous melodies. Brad Wilk’s drums are nothing to get excited about either, though I can’t get mad about that because they were never that exciting in the first place. In fact, the best part of the song is the bassline and, unless you’re talking about the Red Hot Chili Peppers, that’s not saying much at all.
Oh and there’s this: “The original fire has died and gone / but the riot inside moves on.” I don’t even want to discuss that chorus line. That could have been a line from a Foreigner song, and I wouldn’t have thought less of Foreigner. But that’s because Foreigner fucking sucks. Until now, I could not lower Audioslave to the point of such an analogy without feeling unfair. But unfortunately, that’s the most fair thing I can think of right now.
Audioslave’s original fire has died and gone. And while the riot inside may move on, it sure as hell is nowhere to be found on this song. But don’t worry Chris Cornell, don’t worry Tom Morello, when for some unknown reason I buy your new album this September and it confirms the fears bought about by this song, I promise I’ll still listen to my Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine albums and do my very best to think of you as you were in the nineties and not the washed up sell-outs you’ve become.
If you still want to give the song a shot and have four minutes that you wouldn’t mind losing forever, you can check out “Original Fire” at Audioslave’s myspace.
- Dominick Duhamel -
Tags: Audioslave, Original Fire, Revelations, mp3