Let us go back, my friends, to the days of the early ’90s, when music was an easily traded commodity, but finding the next big band in metal required the most dedicated searching and motivation. In those days, a quartet from Los Angeles made the decision to fuse rap and metal together in their music, similar to what bands such as Anthrax and (believe it or not) the Red Hot Chili Peppers were doing at the time. Then, the quartet also chose to make a number of uncompromising and radical political statements on the songs that would be featured on their very first demo tape, taking a big risk in doing so. The risk wound up paying off, though, as that demo became the most talked-about piece of new music in the area, all but assuring that the band would be signed to a major label. And that is how the story began for Rage Against the Machine.
Today we celebrate the band that dared to demand more from both the government and authority figures, near and far, in a quest for human rights through music. On this, the twentieth anniversary of their ground-breaking first album, we salute the band that united a generation with the rallying cry of “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me!” There has not been a band like them since, and I doubt there will ever be a band with the same level of influence or inspiration ever again.
Rage Against the Machine, Rage Against the Machine – XX (Legacy)
The 20th Anniversary Edition of this classic album comes in many forms. The one most likely to be purchased is the 2-CD/1-DVD Special Edition, which has the most extras for a reasonable price. Disc 1 comes with the original album in a remastered form, featuring three live bonus tracks originally released as B-sides to some of the album’s singles. The real treat, though, is on Disc 2, which contains the original Rage Against the Machine demo tape that became such a mythical force in the LA underground. This demo tape contains several of the songs that would eventually appear on the album, as well as a number of tracks that never made it past the demo, and will likely be heard for the first time by most fans. Finally, the DVD features all three music videos from the album, as well as three live performance videos that have never been seen before. Of course, the real diehards out there can pick up the Deluxe Box Set, which comes with 2 CD’s, 2 DVD’s, an LP, and tons of other collectors items.
Incantation, Vanquish in Vengeance (Listenable)
It’s been six years since the release of Incantation’s last album, Primordial Domination, and true to form, they’ve gone through yet another lineup change. However, I will give credit where credit is due – drummer Kyle Severn has continued his tenure with the band, despite taking time off in 2007 and all of 2008. Aside from Severn, John McEntee is, as always, the only member returning from their previous album, and remains the only founding member left in the band. Considering that McEntee has been the only founding member left since a year after forming, though, we can pretty much assume that it will continue in that fashion until he decides to disband the group. Regardless, Vanquish in Vengeance upholds Incantation’s legacy of dark, off-tempo death metal in fine form. With mixing and mastering done by the legendary Dan Swanö at his Unisound Studios, this album is sure to have the perfect atmosphere from start to finish.
Also being released this week:
Therion, Les Fleurs du Mal (End of the Light)
Vicious Rumors, Live You to Death (Steamhammer)
Bloodbound, In the Name of Metal (AFM)
Mestis, Basal Ganglia (Sumerian)
I Am Abomination, Let the Future Tell the Truth (N/A)
Mammoth Mammoth, Vol. III – Hell’s Likely (Napalm)
Sinister, The Carnage Ending (Massacre)
Merrimack, The Acausal Mass (AFM)
Blood of the Sun, Burning on the Wings of Desire (Listenable)
Finterforst, Rastlos (Napalm)
Amenra, Mass V (Neurot)
Next Week: The year is winding down, and the lists are getting shorter. Time to start thinking about those end-of-year lists as we get towards the final releases of 2012!