Prophets of Rage

Prophets of Rage

Written by: MIN on 25/09/2017 12:58:31

Ever since their formation a little over a year ago, American rap/rock supergroup Prophets of Rage have been subject to quite a lot of criticism. The band consists of Rage Against the Machine’s rhythm section and guitarist, the two MCs B-Real (Cypress Hill) and Chuck D (Public Enemy), and lastly the Public Enemy turntablist, DJ Lord, and they initially formed in the wake of the realization that Donald Trump just might become the next President of the U.S.A. However, what might’ve looked like a good idea on paper returned a lukewarm result in the form of the EP ”The Party’s Over”, which saw the group come together like a watered down edition of Rage Against the Machine with nothing much to add. Contrary to what many people might’ve hoped for, the sextet’s debut LP, the self-titled “Prophets of Rage”, unfortunately doesn’t do much to improve on said edition of the group – in fact, it only cements it.

Although B-Real might be the odd ingredient in this punch bowl, the sheer power, impact and emergence of both Public Enemy and Rage Against the Machine is undeniable. However, no matter how hard these Prophets of Rage try to remake the rambunctious rhythms of RATM’s prime or the booming blasts of Chuck D’s boisterous bellows’ past, nothing here ever comes close. Granted, some songs hold an amount of merit on their own – the instrumental build-up towards the chorus in “Hail to the Thief” actually is quite banging, and the tempo in “Smashit” makes it difficult to sit still – but too often, the group dives headfirst into various pitfalls. The music is unadventurous and relies on more or less the same structures and conventions throughout, and the lyrics are flat out cringeworthy. Too often, Prophets of Rage lock themselves into a rather anonymous groove where Tom Morello’s guitar bleeps and blops now and then to keep things “interesting” just before Chuck D and B-Real clash in and deliver a set of obvious lyrics about inequality and racism (just look at the song-titles and tell me that you don’t already know what at least half of the songs are about).

It’s always nice when artists (especially those as big as these guys) point out the flaws in the system, but please do so in tasteful fashion. The chorus of “Fired a Shot” consist of nothing but ”Look who fired the shot // I just fired the shot // We fired the shot // Look who fired the shot”, and that’s it. Or how about B-Real’s auto-tuned voice in the horrible “Legalize Me”, where he lists several cities in which you’re allowed to smoke marijuana? The only somewhat decent set of lyrics arrive in “Who Owns Who”, where you finally don’t feel like these previously great musicians actually talk down to you. Finding a good song on “Prophets of Rage” is like looking for a needle in a haystack, and it’s hard not to laugh in disbelief while sitting through the entire thing.

Ultimately, the worst thing about this album is the fact that it’s so God damn boring. Sure, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk are in-sync and deliver bouncing rhythms to get you jumping, but they feel stale and uninspired. Half of the time, you sit there thinking “oh well, it’s fine as long as Zack De La Rocha bursts in the door in a few seconds to spice things up”, but he never does. As much as I admire especially Chuck D, his deep, slow flow isn’t explosive enough to pack the punch that De La Rocha’s does, and when the band’s sound is this close to that of Rage Against the Machine, it ends up hurting the project more than it enhances it – you simply can’t feel the heat that the band’s trying to make. So, is “Prophets of Rage” worse than “The Party’s Over”? Probably not. But it’s longer and tougher to sit through, making your overall impression of the outing even worse – and it’s a far cry from all of the group’s members’ individual pasts.

4

Download: Unfuck the World, Hail to the Chief, Smashit
For The Fans Of: Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy, Cypress Hill
Listen: Facebook

Release date 15.09.2017
Fantasy Records


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