I always said that one positive which would assuredly come out of the Trump administration would be some righteous protest music. In divisive times when the corrupt and the privileged hold power, art provides the indications of a groundswell in opposition.
This is not Prophets Of Rage first release. Their calling card was a reworking of the Public Enemy track from which they took their name about a year ago. It was good enough but lacked any real vim. That’s kind of understandable when you have Chuck D re-recording rhymes he first laid down as an angry young man in the 1980’s. Tom Morello and his RATM band mates did their best to RATM up the music and the Cypress Hill contingent B-Real put in his tuppence worth. It was an OK record but in needed fire.
The Party’s Over was released around the same time as the election results and showed the song writing was still there. The production was less than the full widescreen experience we’d been treated to on Audioslave records but it was a step in the right direction.
Now we have the first Prophets Of Rage track from the completed album. It’s the full on 3-D technicolour smell-o-vision, immersive arse quaking rock experience.
A pounding Morello riff before PE’s DJ Lord lays down some atmosphere. Here’s Chuck and B switch hitting on a chorus before the song even starts proper.
“No hatred, fuck racists, blank faces, times changing”
If you can’t mosh to that, then I’m afraid you and I can’t be friends.
Chuck D’s verses are the most urgent he’s sounded in years. Sure the whole thing sounds a bit 90’s in places, but only because the formula on show here has never really been bettered.
This is Rage Against The Machine with Public Enemy (and B-Real) in a literal sense. On paper were you to work this record out, this is how they would sound. And in a moment in time where the Paris Accord has been wiped on a buffoons back side. When international and interracial tensions are at their height and when our heroes are dying and our enemies are in power. In that moment. We need to rage against the dying of the light.
UPDATE *I wrote this review before a beautiful day in my City ended in Jihad and dead innocents. I woke up on Saturday morning pulled on my gig boots and then I headed off to a rock show. Only after I got home safe from seeing some great bands did I hear that terrorism took lives in London on June 3rd 2017.
So for my friends, for the strangers and for the City I love #UNFUCKTHEWORLD