Prophets of Rage

The Party's Over EP

Written by: MIN on 02/11/2016 17:22:51

Blaring out of your speakers comes the sound of a prison siren, as if the inmates just burst the doors open and launched a jailbreak. It’s 1988’s “It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back” all over again, but instead of having Public Enemy continuing from their classic album “Bring the Noise”, another constellation kicks off this debut EP with a different song from that same outing: “Prophets of Rage” — the title track to this new supergroup. The group consists Public Enemy’s Chuck D and Cypress Hill’s B-Real as the rapping frontmen, DJ Lord (also of Public Enemy) on turntables, and no less than three members of Rage Against the Machine: Tim Commerford on bass, Brad Wilk on drums and Tom Morello on guitar.

Depending on whether you enjoyed the hotchpotch that was Audioslave, you’ll either be sitting with a huge smile on your face while reading this or rolling your eyes whilst waiting for it to pass. But regardless of what your personal opinion about the constellation might be, one thing’s for sure: when two of hip-hop’s most acclaimed MCs and ¾ of Rage Against the Machine get together for a mash-up band, it matters.

And honestly, things are off to a pretty good start. The aforementioned song, “Prophets of Rage”, has switched out most of the scratching and samples, and exchanged it with funky rhythms like only RATM could do it. Chuck D sounds as powerful as ever, and B-Real complements him well even despite the absence of Public Enemy’s hype man Flavor Flav. When listening to it, you can almost see yourself jumping up and down in the moshpit, really freaking excited to see a group comprising so many legends. It’s actually very similar to what you imagine it’d sound like if Public Enemy and RATM were collaborating: pretty fucking awesome.

It’s no secret that the Prophets of Rage constellation very much emphasizes actually raging against the machine — the system, the government… whatever you can fill in here. Therefore, obviously every song on this record should reflect that. Unfortunately, however, the EP only contains one original song by the band: “The Party’s Over”. It kicks off with a bluesy guitar riff that would fit perfectly on any Velvet Volume track, and it feels like a less energetic version of the song we just heard prior to this one. The flows delivered throughout are less hyped and energetic and the chorus is void of any kind of creativity — I mean, it’s basically just the line ”The party’s over” repeated several times. The build-up towards the end, with Tom Morello riffing hard above the heavy groove is pretty awesome though, but in total the band’s only original song is nowhere nearly as crafty as one could’ve hoped for.

But brace yourself, for that song is miles better than what’s in store for you. The remaining three songs on the EP are all live covers and tributes, including the classic “Killing in the Name” which gets a facelift that would even have Kent Brockman laughing. The music sounds lazy and it doesn’t really feel like our two MCs deliver the kind of rage that we’re used to from Zack De La Rocha on this classic track. The last two covers feature “Shut ‘Em Down” by Public Enemy plus a mix between the Beastie Boys’ classic “No Sleep ’Til Brooklyn” and Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power”, called “No Sleep ’Til Cleveland”. Both are better renditions than “Killing in the Name”, but they in no way hold up to either the qualities of either band that features in this group. One major up for the band, however, is Tom Morello: the dude has a signature sound that some may find too much on occasions, but whenever he gets room to rip a solo or an extra riff, he god damn delivers.

The covers on this EP are early takes dating back to when the group had just started, and one can therefore hope they’ve improved since. But this raises the question: why would you release an EP with so little original material and such early live material? It seriously drags it down, and I can’t help but be left with a feeling of disappointment. When Prophets of Rage launched their website, the words ”It’s time to take the power back” were written with a promise: there’s a presidential election across the sea, and the band argues that times are dangerous. But too often on this record I can’t really feel the fright, the resistance or the rage. If Prophets of Rage want to become truly relevant, they have to up their game big time. Otherwise they’ll just be remembered as any other so-called supergroup that got together just for the fun of it.

5

Download: Prophets of Rage
For The Fans Of: Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy, Cypress Hill, Audioslave
Listen: Facebook

Release date 26.08.2016
Caroline Records

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