Personnel: Chris Cornell (vocals); Tom Morello (guitar); Brad Wilk (drums).
Audio Mixer: Brendan O'Brien .
Recording information: Henson Recording Studios, Hollywood, CA.
The hard-driving supergroup's third album is a seething mix of rock and R&B in the grand old fashion of Led Zeppelin, and although singer Chris Cornell is no Robert Plant, the band's unified musical vision belies the usual music biz scenario of warring oversized superstar egos. The album-opening title track is a superbly confident hunk of riff-rock, and Tom Morello's wah-wah guitar pyrotechnics on "Sound of a Gun" likewise conjure heavy rock's early-1970s golden years.
There's also genuine political rage here, with the pounding beat and insistent chorus of "The Original Fire" heralding a call to arms (while Morello's solo is an eccentric gem), and songs like the quietly seething "Wide Awake" focusing the band's anger at institutionalized inaction in New Orleans after the devastation of hurricane Katrina. Though "Nothing Left to Say But Goodbye" and "Moth," the album's two downtempo tracks, are subtle, they're no less intense, thanks to Cornell's committed vocal delivery. Unsurprisingly, though, the band sounds most at home when it's rocking, whether on the snaky funk of "Broken City" or the full-frontal assault of "One and the Same."
Rolling Stone (p.105) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "The funk that always came naturally to Morello, bassist Tim Commerford and drummer Brad Wilk in Rage also comes alive here in their heavy emphatic swagger."
Entertainment Weekly (p.159) - "Returning to the guitar-as-turntable style he patented with Rage, Morello pulls the band out if its generic aggro-rock rut." -- Grade: B