2002 debut from this band featuring former Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell backed by 3/4ths of Rage Against The Machine.
The debut of thundering supergroup Audioslave--featuring members of Rage Against the Machine post-Zack de la Rocha with ex-Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell--is as much curio as fascinating blend of visions. Cornell might be outnumbered, but his unmistakable holler and nihilistic imagery ensure that Audioslave, the album, recalls early Soundgarden. That's especially true since de la Rocha took Rage's signature rap and politicking with him. Still, if this is Soundgarden, it's Soundgarden set to stun. Rage guitarist Tom Morello is more of a mauler than Kim Thayil ever was--witness "Shadow on the Sun," which moves from bruising thud to psychedelic freak-out and back again--while the Rage rhythm section of Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk anchor the bottom end with pure instrumental cement. Intentionally or not, "Gasoline" bears passing resemblance to "Rusty Cage," while the sweeping "I Am the Highway" and slow-burning "The Last Remaining Light" best showcase Cornell's surprisingly New Age-y lyrical bent. Cover art by Storm Thorgerson, who gave Pink Floyd records their distinctive stamp, underscores the set's inherent celebrity. Fans of Rage and Soundgarden can raise clenched fists in unison, for Audioslave is win-win. --Kim Hughes