OUT OF EXILE presents a band that has grown comfortably into its own skin. Three years after Audioslave's highly successful debut, the supergroup crafted a truly formidable rock album with a fresh, live-in-the-studio rawness. Former Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello rolls back the distortion subtly, playing with a notably more melodic touch, best evidenced on “Heaven's Dead” and “Dandelion.” Soundgarden's Chris Cornell's weathered voice at times walks a perilous ledge, yet never to a fault–that very danger and heartfelt soulfulness are part and parcel of his revered approach. The heady and poetic “#1 Zero” and “Be Yourself” strongly uphold Cornell's consummate lyrical prowess.
OUT OF EXILE could hardly be an Audioslave record without a crop of head-thrashing, foot-stomping riffs, as revealed in “Your Time Has Come,” “The Worm,” and the powerful title track. Bassist Tim Commerford remains supportive and inventive in his playing, while Brad Wilk notches up his drumming considerably, taking chances and stretching beyond his dependable grooves on the band's first release. With the crack production and mixing of Rick Rubin and Brendan O'Brien, respectively, OUT OF EXILE raises the bar for the quartet on all levels.
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