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The supergroup Audioslave’s second installment finds the merger of Rage Against the Machine’s music men and the voice of Soundgarden continuing their path for rock ‘n’ roll nirvana. Sounding way more relaxed and less contrived than their debut, Chris Cornell’s vocal gymnastics and the band’s undeniably airtight rhythms emit a funky hard rock vibe on tracks like “Your Time Has Come” and “The Worm” while the airy “Dandelion” and the expertly measured “Heaven’s Dead” branch into places both of the member’s former bands never were able to reach. Sounding like a ‘70s arena rock champion without the excessive musical bloat or dilapidated lyrical content, mature is a word that prominently gets tossed around about these rock veteran’s latest offering. It’s fair to say that Audioslave has salvaged what was great about their former projects, but have also grown as artists and songwriters much like late-era Zeppelin, knowing when to furl their collective brow and kick out the jams as much as realizing they are accomplished enough to have fun on tracks like the contextually lighthearted yet rocking chorused “Doesn’t Remind Me”. While this isn’t the album the band were proclaiming it to be, OUT OF EXILE is one of the most solid entities in hard rock today, and another feather in each member’s musical cap.
- Mike SOS