There are moments of manic euphoria on Audioslave’s third release, the inconsistent Revelations, that almost
make you forget the album’s obvious missteps. To be fair, the band sounds like more of a comfortably cohesive unit than
ever before. While their self-titled debut came off like Chris Cornell performing inspired karaoke to tunes lifted from Rage
Against the Machine’s latest sonic assault, Revelations finds a fierce foursome losing the baggage and forging
an identity all their own.
But therein lies the problem: When they distance themselves from trademark Rage and those lush gardens of sound, Audioslave
too often struggles to find its groove. For every blistering rocker (“Nothing Left to Say But Goodbye,” “Moth”),
there are uneven forays into Chili Pepper-flavored funk (“Jewel of the Summertime”) and R&B (“Original Fire”)
that are competent enough but oddly out of place. As always, the musicianship is supremely accomplished – Cornell’s
primal wail remains a formidable weapon, and Tom Morello can still coax sounds out of his guitar that are at once thunderous
and wholly unique. But the band’s greatest strength is its ability to mold bruising riffs into pounding anthems with
an almost cathartic force. Let’s hope they don’t forget it.