‘Rage Against the Machine — XX'
Protest music reached maximum volatility in 1992 when the dynamite duo of singer Zack de la Rocha and guitarist Tom Morello combined their combustible talents and attitudes on their band's self-titled debut album “Rage Against the Machine.”
“No escape from the mass mind rape,” De la Rocha ranted with Chuck D-level power on “Bullet to the Head,” while Morello performed tricks with his toggle switch and whammy pedal that no guitarist has touched before or since.
“Play it again, jack, and then rewind the tape / And then play it again and again and again / Until ya mind is locked in / Until ya mind is locked in / Believin' all the lies that they're tellin' ya / Buyin' all the products that they're sellin' ya / They say jump and ya say how high / Ya brain-dead / Ya got a (bleeping) bullet in ya head.”
Talk about living up to your name. Machine, meet Zack and Tom.
This explosion of furious passion and creativity marked the first successful fusion of rap and heavy metal, and the band burned brightly through three more albums before brilliant lyricist/singer De la Rocha left to go solo in 2000.
But many critics and fans agree the band's freshman album was their finest hour, a durable standard-bearer for topical, incendiary rock. Newly remastered and redubbed “Rage Against the Machine — XX,” the album is available in three configurations: the “20th Anniversary Edition Deluxe Box Set,” featuring two CDs, two DVDs, one 12-inch, 180-gram vinyl LP, one 40-page booklet and a two-sided poster; the “20th Anniversary Special Edition” housing two CDs and a bonus DVD featuring six tracks in an oversized softpack; and the “20th Anniversary Edition” single compact disc with three bonus tracks.
Disc One is the original album with three rare B-sides from the era. Disc Two presents the original Rage Against the Machine demo tape. DVD One presents the band's free concert in Finsbury Park in June 2010 to thank British fans for making “Killing in the Name” the No. 1 single during Christmas week 2009. Music videos and assorted concert clips are also included. DVD Two contains live performances from 1991-'94. And Chuck D himself contributes liner notes.
— Gene Triplett