Of all three ventures by the infamous Chris Cornell, Audioslave and in particular the stunning debut album, has got to be my favourite, with Soundgarden a close second. His solo work didn't fire me up quite as much, with calmer, soft-rock sounds, in contrast to Audioslave's hard-rock ferocity. The band formed in 2001 but unfortunately disbanded in 2007, after three records. Appearing from the music scene after Zack de la Rocha left Rage Against the Machine, the remaining band mates were seeking a new vocalist. In terms of sound, this means that Audioslave has a very heavy RATM influence, be it with a singer instead of a rapper. Rather than drive away old fans though, this persuaded more troops to gather under both the Chris Cornell and Rage Against the Machine banners.
When it comes to sound, this band are openly very proud that the whole album was produced using only drums, bass, guitar and Cornell's diverse vocal range. The songs incorporate very hard-rock sounds, seen in bands like the Foo Fighters, and some more original alternative rock elements, both of which print the music with the unmistakable Audioslave stamp. The band's work is very catchy, aggressive and has that mysterious ability to make you whack along on imaginary drums. A classic record, in my mind at least.
There's some great variety to this album as well, from the aggressive (Set It Off) to the rock ballad (Like A Stone), which is incidentally, possibly my favourite song on the record. After the terrific opener and followed by the brilliant 'Shadow on the Sun', this track is simply fantastic. From the haunting melody to the electric guitar, which leads to a spine-tingling climax, every note on this song is perfect. Cornell sings with such compassion and feeling that it is seriously hard not to be drawn in by the words coming out his mouth.
Don't be pushed away by this though, as Audioslave definitely have some raw, unadulterated power that explodes from your speakers on tracks like 'Exploder', 'Cochise' and 'Set It Off'. Possibly the greatest of these examples though, is the ending of 'Shadow on the Sun'. The vocals aren't like anything heard previously, with pumping guitar and throbbing bass backing Cornell's powerful. Rock. Scream.
The track 'Hypnotise' retains a perfect rhythm, emphasised by the catchy 'boom, boom, boom'. 'Bring 'Em Back Alive' is smothered in reverb and contains an electric wailing which is definitely the most annoying thing on the album. Only in the song for half a minute though, it does nothing to dampen the shine that the rest of the record emulates. On the basis of this classic, then, I am seriously upset by the fact that Audioslave has since disbanded. From the hardly noticeable chiptune beeps on 'Light My Way' to the bluesy feel of 'Getaway Car', Audioslaves fourteen track debut has something for everyone while keeping a solid, indisputable identity that frankly, rocks my world.