As the vitriol spewed from Evil Empire, Rage Against the Machine's long-awaited follow up to their 1993 debut owes much to Chuck D.'s polemic fury and rapid-fire urgency - though as always the band rages without hip-hop machinery in favour of the heavy-duty power tools of rock. But no matter if Rage Against the Machine amounts to revolutionary rap, protest metal, or a combination of the two, the band's command of sonic rage makes Evil Empire a powerful assault in any musical language. But wait, there's more to the name.
Raging against the machine, like yelling at the TV, is woefully misdirected. Lyricist Zack de la Rocha is clearly someone with strong political views - particularly when it comes to the plight of fellow Mexicans on both sides of the border. He vents his indignation sharply at times (Vietnow, Without a Face), rather clumsily and artlessly most others. Music this angry should be aimed at something more specific than an entire race or nation or government, or else it risks sounding like the empty rants of confused post-pubescent rebellion. If only Rage against the Machine's raw musical muscles were grinding over a focused message, lord knows how potent they could be.