Can we have an honest appraisal of Rage Against the Machine?

They were fucking awesome. Cheers.




I think they’ve never been seen as anything but excellent by lovers of rock.

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This might be my most repeated post in the history of DiS, but:

Evil Empire is fucking amazing
Killing In The Name is a stain on their legacy


I’ve never seen them as anything but excellent


Pretty good band, until that berk does the scratchy guitar thing

Walked off after two songa at Leeds to see Less Than Jake (i think) where I had a much better time

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Last time I saw them live, Zach was imploring the mosh pit to “Save that for the streets”, at which point I wondered if I’d become a grown up because he sounded so fucking stupid.


To answer the topic, i have found them always cringey

Their debut is the only album I’ve sung / shouted the lyrics to from start to end on a car journey. And I even did the dunnnunnunnunuuu guitar impressions when Zach wasn’t being angry. They’re brilliant.


I really liked them as a teenager but find liking them a bit embarrassing as a grown up.

There’s not really a song on any of their albums that I won’t tell you is in some way awesome and then also admit that another bit is a bit rubbish. Often the guitar noises and lyrics are at opposite sides of this.

In summary: they are fully awesome and also embarrassing bullshit at the same time.

Fuck the man.


I think it helps if you don’t take the lyrics seriously.

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I disagree, I think it’s important to recognise their lyrics are on point but we’ve been conditioned over and over by regressive society to dismiss any sort of left wing anger as akin to childish tantrums.

Look at Wake Up. Yes it’s well worked because it’s a lyric that matches the tune and rhymes but the points made are entirely correct

Come on, although ya try to discredit
Ya still never edit
The needle, I’ll thread it
Radically poetic
Standin’ with the fury that they had in ‘66
And like E-Double I’m mad
Still knee-deep in the system’s shit
Hoover, he was a body remover
I’ll give ya a dose
But it’ll never come close
To the rage built up inside of me
Fist in the air, in the land of hypocrisy
Movements come and movements go
Leaders speak, movements cease
When their heads are flown
’Cause all these punks
Got bullets in their heads
Departments of police, the judges, the feds
Networks at work, keepin’ people calm
You know they went after King
When he spoke out on Vietnam
He turned the power to the have-nots
And then came the shot
Yeah, back in this…
Wit’ poetry, my mind I flex
Flip like Wilson, vocals never lackin’ dat finesse
Whadda I got to, whadda I got to do to wake ya up
To shake ya up, to break the structure up
’Cause blood still flows in the gutter
I’m like takin’ photos
Mad boy kicks open the shutter
Set the groove
Then stick and move like I was Cassius
Rep the stutter step
Then bomb a left upon the fascists
Yea, the several federal men
Who pulled schemes on the dream
And put it to an end
Ya better beware
Of retribution with mind war
Twenty/twenty visions and murals with metaphors
Networks at work, keepin’ people calm
Ya know they murdered X
And tried to blame it on Islam
He turned the power to the have-nots
And then came the shot


You’ve got to admit that some of the worst moments are a bit childish though.

As much as I do agree with most of what you say there, I also feel like the lyrical viewpoint is too one-sided (America - bad; governments - bad; all of the proletariat - heroic and noble) to fully appreciate the music/ delivery around it.

Heck of a lot of narcs in this thread


Yeah they seemed genuinely amazing when they came out, but I never really listen to them now. First heard them on - I think - newsnight doing bullet in the head (maybe I’ve got that wrong as it seems a bit implausible. but there definitely was some late night high brow BBC2 show which played alt rock at the end. I’ve got a vhs comp somewhere but have failed to find it on YouTube).

Drove 3 hours each way to see them at the Manchester ritz soon after just after I’d passed my driving test. And can confirm it was in the top 3 most bonkers mosh pits I’ve been involved in.


TBF I only really know the first album. It’s about big ideas and its presented in a big way. I don’t think the lyrics seek to say these things, I think they seek to say:

America - not particularly worthy; governments - not to be assumed as having your best interests at heart; all of the proletariat - more heroic and noble than the media and those in charge tend to make out.

Now that’s a nuance to what you’re said but it’s important. The effect of the Overton Window being right shifted has been keenly felt for decades and part of that is in seeing attacks on America (say) as implying you’re dismissing it completely rather than actually talking about important things that need addressing.


Politics were good, more or less pioneered a certain type of metal, got a bit samey towards the end, fans are an utter embarrassment.


It was the Late Show. Remember watching it on VHS before going to see Dinosaur Jr at Brixton Academy.

To be fair to them, I don’t think I really gave them a fair chance as they were touted as this very political and dangerous band issuing wake up calls, but seemed very tame to what was happening in rap music at that time.

They remind me a bit of Banksy.