Classic Album Review: Revelations by Audioslave

Audioslave’s third and final studio album, Revelations came just a year after their second studio effort, Out of Exile. While Out of Exile saw the band resting on their laurels and largely copying and pasting from their eponymous debut album (albeit with less inspired results), Revelations shows Audioslave being reinvigorated and trying new things. With stellar songwriting and instrumental performances throughout the album, Audioslave has found a way to keep themselves relevant and update their sound, while also staying true to the hard/alt rock influences that brought them to the dance. 

Revelations’ opener and title track kicks off with an effortless earworm of a clean guitar intro from guitar god Tom Morello. From there we get a classic Audioslave track with fun guitar riffs and progressions,  along with perfectly fitting drum and bass parts to accompany them. Lead singer Chris Cornell sports his hauntingly-rustic vocal style to round out a very good opening track. After that, we are treated to “Sound of a Gun”, which showcases a slightly darker sound than we’re used to from the band, one that harkens back to some of the band members’ olden days in Rage Against the Machine with the use of a subtly placed hip-hop groove. Elsewhere on the record, “Somedays” sees the band excel at what they’re known for with head-bopping riffs, catchy vocals, a tender bridge, and Tom Morello’s guitar effects wizardry. Perhaps the best song comes toward the end of the record in “Wide Awake”. Bassist Tim Commerford delivers a memorable bassline while drummer Brad Wilk holds down the backbeats, all while singer Chris Cornell delivers one of the greatest, most emotional performances of his career. The song stands as not only among the band’s best but amongst the greatest songs that any member of the band has produced throughout their respective careers. All in all, Revelations has great flow from track to track with every track delivering something, whether its a funky groove, soaring vocal melodies, or an inventive riff.

Tom Morello has put himself together quite a resume throughout his years playing the guitar. He is often regarded as one of the greatest and most original guitar players of all time, through his use of revolutionary techniques and effects. That being said, Revelations features some of his most inventive guitar solos yet. Every guitar solo on the album is different, with Tom employing a plethora of different production techniques and effects including heavy reverb, overdubs, modulation pedals, wah-wah, and his pattened killswitch. Words truly can not do justice to Tom’s master guitar work on Revelations, as it is so innovative and distinct that it truly must be heard to be believed. Perhaps the best solo on the album comes toward the end of “One and the Same”. On this solo, Tom makes use of a modulation pedal in order to create and effect that according to Tom, sounds like the voice of R2-D2. Morello couples this with some great shreddage and tremolo picking to construct a truly memorable guitar solo. Tom Morello has already etched his name in the history of the guitar world, but Revelations further cements his legacy as one of the greatest to ever live and shows that he’s not done innovating.

Revelations is a great swan-song for supergroup Audioslave that shows why they are one of the more successful supergroups to come out of the 2000s. Every band member puts up a good performance and they all get a chance to shine. There’s not a dull moment on the record, as we’re treated to highlight after highlight throughout as the guys from Audioslave go out with a bang.

Standout Track: Wide Awake

Grade: A-

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