Audioslave – Like a Stone
Audioslave was an American rock supergroup formed in Los Angeles, California, in 2001 and disbanded in 2007. The four-piece band consisted of then-former Soundgarden lead singer/rhythm guitarist Chris Cornell, and then-former Rage Against the Machine members Tom Morello (lead guitar), Tim Commerford (bass/backing vocals), and Brad Wilk (drums). Critics first described Audioslave as an amalgamation of Soundgarden and Rage Against the Machine, but by the band’s second album, Out of Exile, it was noted that they had established a separate identity.
Audioslave’s trademark sound was created by blending 1970s hard rock with 1990s alternative rock. Moreover, Morello incorporated his well-known, unconventional guitar solos into the mix. As with Rage Against the Machine, the band prided themselves on the fact that all sounds on their albums were produced using only guitar, bass, drums, and vocals.
In its six years of existence, Audioslave released three albums, received three Grammy nominations, and became the first American rock band to perform an open-air concert in Cuba. Audioslave disbanded in February 2007 when Cornell issued a statement announcing that he was permanently leaving the band “due to irresolvable personality conflicts as well as musical differences.” The 2007 Rage Against the Machine reunion and tour involving the rest of the band as well as solo albums released that same year by Morello and Cornell cemented the supergroup’s permanent demise.
By combining ’70s style hard rock riffing with alternative rock, Audioslave created a distinctive sound.This mix was driven by Cornell’s wide vocal range, Morello’s innovative guitar solos and the rhythm section of Wilk and Commerford. Morello, although stating he “never felt musically limited” in Rage Against the Machine, did say that he had “a lot more scope to explore with Audioslave” and a “wider musical territory.” This meant that the instrumentalists had the opportunity to write slow and melodic songs, something they had not done before.
As opposed to de la Rocha’s lyrics, Cornell’s were mostly apolitical; Morello referred to them as “haunted, existential poetry.”They were characterised by his cryptic approach, often dealing with themes of existentialism,love, hedonism,spirituality and Christianity.Audioslave’s first two albums drew influences from 1970s hard rock such as Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath and from the members’ previous bands (the grunge sound of Soundgarden and the funk metal sound of Rage Against the Machine). For Revelations, which was influenced by 1960s and ’70s funk, soul and R&B music, Morello used vintage guitars and amplifiers and Cornell adopted his “seventies funk and R&B-flavor vocals.” The guitarist also cited Sly & the Family Stone, James Brown and Funkadelic as a reason for the funk overtones on the album.
Just as Rage Against the Machine did, Audioslave also included the statement “All sounds made by guitar, bass, drums and vocals” in their albums’ booklets as Morello’s guitar work often caused listeners to believe that the band used samples, synthesiser effects or different turntable techniques to produce certain sounds.
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