52 IN 52

The 52 Albums that define my love for music

Week 29/Album 29

Who: Rage Against The Machine - "S/T"

When: 1993

Why: In 8th grade, I got a subscription for Spin Magazine for XMas. In one of the first issues I got had supplement that was showcasing some of the "up and coming bands". There were about 12 bands in this supplement and I hadn't heard of any of them. From that issue, all I remember were 2 names. Tool, and Rage Against The Machine. As my friend Jenny Connell and I sat in our Math class, reading this supplement, we both agreed that we needed to find out what this Rage Against The Machine band was all about. So, I took change up the Record Den and found a CD Box (the long ones!) without a name on it, but just a monk, on fire in the street. This was the second CD I ever bought. I got home and put it on, and was blown away of how crazy it sounded. It sounded like a crisper, funkier and angrier version of the Rap Metal that Anthrax and Public Enemy did.  It was solid, and I was sold on this record.  I knew nothing about what they stood for, or what they were talking about, but the music was great. It was heavy, smart and Zach De La Rocha was MAD.

Where: Saw them the summer of 1993, on Lollapalooza. They were the first band I saw in the day, Nobody knew what was going on, and I'm glad I did.  Saw them again in 1997 with Wu-Tang Clan, and by that time, I've had my fill of Rage Against The Machine.

Rage Against The Machine, in my opinion, started the popularization of the rap-metal genre. And even though the wrote the same record 4 times, they could never really duplicate this album. I have more respect for them than any other rap-metal band though because they weren't just a fad. They were great musicians. Tom Morello is probably one of the most innovative guitar players on the planet. The rhythm section wasn't flashy, but completely in the pocket, and Zach De La Rocha's words were harsh, and direct. They were fierce and this record came at you hard.

Rage didn't really resonate with me long, as I would move away from the heavier stuff and lean to the fast punk that I started to love, but this record will always have a place.  I wouldn't even call myself a fan of Rage, but I respect them for this record, and as musicians.

This record is on this list for 2 reasons. The first is because it was the first time I bought music without knowing anything about the music they played, or anything about the band themselves. I'd actually pick Zach's older hardcore band "Inside Out" over Rage. The second reason is because this record is pretty damn innovative.  The best quote I ever heard about this record is that  "this record was made to to test amplifiers and speakers". The liner notes boasted that  "All sounds made by guitar, bass, drums and vocals" as well.