Audioslave have sure beaten the odds. The rock supergroup (featuring three members of Rage Against the Machine and Soundgarden lead singer Chris Cornell) almost didn’t get off the ground because of record label and management issues over three years ago. Then, after the band persevered to record an awesome and successful debut album, many critics and fans wrote the band off as a one off project that would never release another album. Now here we are in the summer of 2005, and Audioslave are back with their sophomore release Out of Exile. While the new disc might not be quite as good as the band’s debut, there is no doubt that the band sounds a lot more like Audioslave and a lot less like Rage Against the Soundgarden.

Much like “Cochise,” the first track off of the band’s debut album, “Your Time Has Come” starts off Out of Exile with a bang. Listening to the first few notes of the song may make you think you’ve traveled back to 1969 and are listening to something off of Led Zeppelin’s first two albums. The lyrics and message to “Your Time Has Come” are also faintly reminiscent of a Rage Against the Machine song as Cornell’s words seem to be tinged with an anti-war message. The big riffs continue on the title track, which features a vintage Morello heavy guitar lick and some solid drumming from Brad Wilk. Next comes Out of Exile’s first single, a mid-tempo number called “Be Yourself” that is quite reminiscent of “Like a Stone” off the band’s first disc. Despite the fact that many people have expressed their dislike for the song, it is a great tune and shows that the band is capable of much more than simply screaming vocals and loud guitars. Perhaps the album’s most surprising song comes at track four, “Doesn’t Remind Me.” This song has big hit written all over it and is a good example of Audioslave’s progression into a full-fledged band rather than a mishmash of Rage and Soundgarden.

The mid part of Out of Exile features some first-rate riff rock that starts out with track five “Drown Me Slowly,” a hard driving good old rock song. Perhaps the two hardest songs are grouped together at track seven and eight, “The Worm” and “Man Or Animal.” Morello goes insane with his guitar on these songs, especially with his solo on “The Worm”, which might make you drop your jaw in awe at just how good he is. The band takes it down a notch on “Yesterday To Tomorrow,” a solid song that evokes memories of “Fell on Black Days” from Soundgarden’s brilliant album Superunknown. “Dandelion” is the closest Audioslave get to pop music on the album and, while the song isn’t one of their best, it’s a pretty decent track. As for the weakest song on Out of Exile, I would have to say it’s the second to last song, “#1 Zero.” The first half of it is a bit boring, but thankfully the guitars pick up and the pace of the song completely shifts. Not bad, but not one of the best. At first I didn’t know what to make of the album closer, “The Curse”, but after a few listens it became one of my favorite songs. Cornell really shines on this song, both with his vocals and his lyrics.

Audioslave have done it again. Out of Exile is an excellent follow-up to a monster debut, and the band’s sound has really progressed. There is something for everyone on this album, heavy and hard rock anthems, mid-tempo power ballads and even pop and R&B influences. It also shows that Audioslave are a full-fledged kick ass band now that should no longer be compared to Rage Against the Machine or Soundgarden. Long live Rock and Roll….  [ END ]

Track Listing:

01. Your Time Has Come
02. Out of Exile
03. Be Yourself
04. Doesn’t Remind Me
05. Drown Me Slowly
06. Heaven’s Dead
07. The Worm
08. Man or Animal
09. Yesterday to Tomorrow
10. Dandelion
11. #1 Zero
12. The Curse

Run Time: 53:38
Release Date: 2005