Prophets of Rage is made up of the musical part of Rage against the Machine, Public Enemy's Chuck D and DJ Lord and Cypress Hill's B-Real.
It's an all-star combo of politically motivated rabble-rousers, each armed with an arsenal of classic tracks and a distinctive style.
The group pretty much sounds how you'd imagine that combo to sound. Only, somehow, worse... They may be united in their message of reistance but musically they are a cobbled together coalition that doesn't quite gel.
Throughout the album the Rage component lock into the rigid funk-metal and power riffing of their 1992 self-titled debut record, regardless of whatever Chuck D or B-Real are trying to do vocally. It makes you realise just how good original Rage vocalist Zach de la Rocha was, not just in making those riffs his own but in making them not boring.
He also had a way with a catchy slogan that is sorely missing here. While no one can dare argue with Chuck D's booming authority, Prophets of Rage do not find anything as explosively defiant, dangerous or memorable as de la Rocha's, 'F**k you! I won't do what you tell me!".
The album's mostly just one big mid-tempo sludge that would sound great live but on record fails to ignite. Their important messages delivered in the most blunt and clunky way possible.
There aren't really any highlights. The tracks all stomp non-descriptively into each other. The only exceptions, the awful Smashproof sounding Legalize Me, and the unintentionally hilarious Take Me Higher, a song about drones, not weed.
It's the funniest track I've heard this year and I kinda love it. Over a legit funk-rock riff that early Red Hot Chilli Peppers would kill for, Chuck D and B-Real work seamlessly together, dexterously weaving around each other and finding room in the song for their respective strengths in an unforced way.
Both rappers are no strangers to rapping over hard rock, but their natural ease over this song's classic funk jamming is apparent. It's one of the few moments Prophets of Rage sound unified, and not three like-minded individual units. Even if Chuck D's repeating shout 'DRONES!' never fails to amuse.
The band's fist raised intentions are admirable but it's unlikely this album will soundtrack the revolution. They certainly mean it, man. And you can't fault the intent. But keeping it real isn't enough. You need good songs too.
Be a helluva concert though.
Artist: Prophets of Rage
Album: Prophets of Rage
Label: Sony Music
Verdict: Not as strong as the sum of its parts
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