Audioslave – Revelations – 2006


When I acquired Revelations, many years ago now, I really had no idea what kind of music I was buying. I had vague notions of how it might sound, but oh how wrong I was. Instead, I learned a lesson about not having any preconceived notions about how music sounds until you’ve actually heard it and can form an opinion about it. It’s fantastically fun to be surprised in that way; listening becomes immediately unbiased in a whole different way.

What met my ears was funky rock that, especially in its guitar solos, went beyond conventions and created an interesting sound. Somewhere between a reunited Deep Purple and classic radio rock, you might say. The singer, Chris Cornell, apparently with a background in Soundgarden (a band that never interested me much), has a voice that really suits the music. He sounds like a mix of David Coverdale and Ronnie James Dio, perhaps with an emphasis on the former. In my book, that’s not a bad comparison. The other three members come from the, at the time, disbanded band Rage Against the Machine (which I, incidentally, have never appreciated).

Terribly Disapointed

At first listen of Revelations, I was terribly disappointed, perhaps due to my unfounded preconceptions, but later I discovered that it’s actually an album that grows with the number of listens. Nothing seems to be done by chance, and it’s exceptionally well-thought-out music in many ways. Chris Cornell also turned out to be a much better singer than I initially realized, performing his job with great emotion.

However, Revelations doesn’t grow larger than just almost crossing the threshold of boredom and monotony. It’s a bit of a shame really. Because there are undeniably musical qualities to find when you listen more actively to the album. Perhaps the problem is that it’s a bit too pretentious. Not because it permeates the music in any way, but because it seems like they’re aiming for a slightly more mature audience than screaming teenagers. I realize I’m on thin ice here with such generalizations, but I don’t know if I can describe it better. It seems like they want more than they can handle, and it’s so overproduced by Brendan O’Brien that everything is perfectly laid out, and the joy of playing disappears.

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Tommy Snöberg Söderberg

Autodidact film scholar and music-loving thinker who reads the occasional book.

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