I’m going to cheat again today. This isn’t a new song, or a new collection of musicians performing it – but….it is officially a new band. Let me explain.
This is rap/rock supergroup Prophets of Rage, a new collaboration between members of Rage Against the Machine, Cypress Hill and Public Enemy (which is a sentence that, just on its own, fills me with an awful lot of happiness). It sees Rage’s Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk joined by Chuck D, DJ Lord and B-Real. and, my word, is it good fun to hear these guys being loud and brash again.
I believe they formed primarily to harness the political divisiveness currently in play in the US to re-introduce their combined, extensive back catalogues to a new generation of angry audiences. But this isn’t just an over-glorified dad-rock band trying to rekindle their glory days: they do have original material in the can and Morello’s trademark guitars are as cutthroat and angry as ever, even on tunes that are 20+ years old.
It doesn’t always work – for example, B-Real’s vocals are occasionally a very poor substitute for Zack De La Rocha’s animalistic snarling (who presumably wanted nothing to do with this project, more’s the pity). But where it does work particularly well is in the re-imagineering of classic songs from the other two groups – in particular, the eponymous Prophets of Rage, which was originally released by Public Enemy in 1988. Originally a fantastic tune in its own right, it’s been heavily upgraded with the full RATM treatment and transformed into an absolute beast of a song.
Yes, the cynics can argue that six middle-aged multi-millionaires aren’t necessarily the best poster children for the counter-culture revolution, but I’m certainly happy to see these guys back in the saddle. But then again, at the risk of sounding like an old bastard (which, to be honest, the whole point of the music project was to *not* do) I’m still a sucker for most things Rage.
Sorry. I’ll resume normal service tomorrow.