It’s no exaggeration to say that Rage Against The Machine are one of the most important rock bands of all time. Their intensity and vitality gave a voice and inspiration to millions of disenfranchised music fans around the world, who were sick with the status quo and the formulaic hole rock ‘n’ roll had found itself in. Despite calling it a day six years ago (with another seven year break before that), RATM’s music is still having an impact on young bands today – not just through Prophets Of Rage.
Eastbourne’s Saint Apache are just one band who worship at the altar of Morello and de la Rocha, so we asked vocalist Thom Meredith to choose the ten best Rage Against The Machine songs of all time.
“The video is about Leonard Peltier, the American Indian Movement, and his imprisonment. The song is typical of Rage Against The Machine with a hard-hitting opening riff that draws you in, followed by that brutal bass line, and drums that carry it all with the opening and unmistakable vocals of Zack de la Rocha. The song has a strong message and the video proves just that. All in all, it’ a message to stand up for your rights and fight for freedom.”
“Is there is a better opening track to a debut album? If so, I want to hear it. When you hear Bombtrack, you will become a Rage Against The Machine fan on the spot. That’s exactly what happened to me. I immediately started to check out everything else that they had done.”
Calm Like A Bomb
“Taken from their third album, The Battle Of Los Angeles, in 1999. This song really shows how much of a great guitarist Tom Morello really is – his use of effects and whammy are amazing. The lyrics also display the poetic political prowess that Zack de la Rocha was so good at.”
“If anybody used to play Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 on PlayStation like we did, they will love this song. For some reason the little hi-hat that gets thrown into the beat behind the main riff makes it for us. It’s sometimes the little things in songs! The track is about the 2000 election between Al Gore and George Bush.”
“No Shelter is a song about the media that control and manipulate people’s minds; distracting us from important news, and feeding us lies and propaganda. Maybe not as well-known as the other songs on this list, but it was released in 1998 and featured on the soundtrack to Godzilla!”
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Sleep Now In The Fire
“The song Sleep Now In The Fire is up there with some of their best work – with a video to match! As the band gatecrash Wall Street for a skit, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? plays on, showing that money is the cause of everything bad when in the wrong hands.”
“This track has some really great riffs in it, as usual! Does Tom Morello write bad riffs? The beginning has a Led Zeppelin – Kashmir feel to it. It has great lyrics as well, as Zack talks about the ‘60s and the FBI trying to silence Martin Luther King.”
Know Your Enemy
“Know Your Enemy is a brutal song with anti-war and anti-authoritarian messages, but the main message is that America thinks it lives in the land of the free but is actually run by elitist enterprises and that you as a person should question everything you are told to believe.”
Bulls On Parade
“You rally round the family with a pocketful of shells! The powerful, meaningful chorus lyrics in Bulls On Parade instantly grab your attention. This cut is taken from Evil Empire and doesn’t fail to hit as hard as a steam train in the face! The main riff is just so simple but amazing.”
Bullet In The Head
“That outro! It’s just unreal. The ending that says ‘Standing in line, believing the lies, you bow down to the flag, you got a bullet in your head!’ The song has many strong references, but in all it’s about media control, government deceit, and the manipulation of the masses. This track, like many of Rage’s, are timeless and still have a strong message. It’s still is so relevant in today’s climate.”
Saint Apache’s latest EP Wolf Machine is out now. Watch their video for The Story Doesn’t End Here below.
Saint Apache - Wolf Machine album review
Guerrilla Radio: The influences behind Rage Against The Machine