I had high hopes for Audioslave, both the band and the album, I truly did. I've been a big fan of Chris Cornell, both as a guitarist and vocalist since his days with the mighty Soundgarden. (I saw them at the 1994 Big Day Out while standing in the pit between the stage and the audience, thanks to an ex-girlfriend's press pass - hi Leah!). RATM hasn't had the same impact but I certainly can't deny their appeal.
This self-titled debut has all the bits of both Soundgarden and Rage Against The Machine that made both bands something special. RATM fans would probably disagree with me but Chris' vocals add such a fuckin' huge dimension to the powerhouse trio from Rage, it's hard not to be blown away by the huge sound Audioslave achieve. At least at the start, anyway.
The reality of what they do, however, is somewhat disappointing. I wanted it to be more than what it was. The first few songs teased me into believing it would be. Cochise is the best song Rage never did and I haven't tired of listening to it. Show How To Live backs up the promise with brooding intent - Cornell's croon is just superb. Then Gasoline's groove adds another dimension and had me nearly sold. But the rest of the album falls over its great, stumbling rock feet and the smash I expected suddenly becomes kind of predictable and, frankly, formulaically boring. (Mine says: what a shock- we agree!)
The best piece of news I've heard in ages is that Soundgarden are getting back together. Perhaps then Chris can put this behind him and move forward. As for Audioslave, well, the aforementioned tracks will be making their way on to the iPod but that's about it.
VERDICT: THROW IT OUT
Does every rock guitarist want to make a Led Zeppelin album? Really, take a listen to Cochise. Is that, or is that not, Whole Lotta Love? A pretty poor version, too. Quite frankly there's a whole bunch of songs on this album that are either versions of Zep or Black Sabbath or some other shouty-boy music.
I did like Hypnotise, and again this album is well constructed and mixed. Just boringly derivative for the most part.
VERDICT: THROW IT OUT
For more information: http://www.audioslave.com/