Looking For Quacks In The Pavement

3WA 2018 #19: Audioslave – Revelations

Apparently the theme for this stretch of posts is “music by acts I’m only somewhat into.” It wasn’t intentional, I assure you.

What is it?

Revelations is the 2006 album released by don’t-call-it-a-supergroup Audioslave, the amalgamation of Soundgarden’s singer and the everything-else of Rage Against The Machine. It’s a dozen tracks of surprisingly straightforward rock music.

How does it sound?

The original fire has died and gone, but the sampler mix plays on:

Why this pick?

Between the two Audioslave albums in my library, Revelations and Out of Exile, this one features the same number of four-star cuts with far fewer dull thuds. Weirdly (considering its membership) it’s probably one of the purest rock-n-roll records of the post-grunge (or post-alternative, or whatever) age.

Of course, the real question is probably “why not a Soundgarden album?” Well that would’ve been Superunknown and my thoughts on that record boil down to: I like some of the radio hits and the rest of it didn’t connect with me at all. My only other Soundgarden purchase was King Animal which mostly bounced off of me on first, second, and third listens.

So we’re back to Audioslave. And this, their final effort, realizes the promise of the premise: In the end they managed to craft a superb rock album out of the disparate backgrounds of its membership, a record eminently listenable albeit questionably meaningful.

Which songs are the highlights?

The album kicks off well with the title track, “Revelations.” “One and the Same” comes next and yeah, it’s pretty good too.

“Original Fire” was the first thing I heard from the band, and I still like it. It’s hard to argue with a solid anthem of a barn-burner.

Late in the album is a trio of very good tunes, from “Shape Of Things To Come” through “Jewel Of The Summertime” and into the superb “Wide Awake.”

Which songs don’t work so well?

“Until We Fall” is the sort of acoustic-guitar-centered rock music piece which leaves me cold in general. It needed a hook of some kind, perhaps. “Broken City” is a handful of musical ideas that don’t quite work well together.

Which album did you almost pick in favor of this one?

Out of Exile, by process of elimination. It does feature two of my favorite songs from the band, “Yesterday To Tomorrow” (with its lovely little bridge section) and “Be Yourself.” But there are some real stinkers on that album, so, no.

Any final thoughts?

I really like Chris Cornell’s voice, at least when he wasn’t tearing his vocal cords to shreds. I know that the shouty/screamy stuff was kind of his calling card but I always hoped he’d step away from that as he got older. We’ll never find out, I suppose. Mind you, here I am criticizing one of the most notable voices in modern rock music. What do I know?

Speaking of singing, in order to make the 30-second sampler mixes I need five snippets of roughly six seconds in length. Problem is, a lot of songs on the album feature Cornell drawing out each line of lyric as long as humanly possible. This made snippet selection more challenging than usual. I may, possibly, have cursed the name of a dead guy a few times during sampler mix assembly… ahem.

1 Comment

  1. Wonderduck

    I’m on record as being a fan of RATM, except for Zach de la Rosa’s juvenile Poly-Sci 101 lyrics, so Audioslave had my approval from day 1.

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