"In your house I long to be/Room by room patiently/I'll wait for you there like a stone/I'll wait for you there alone"
— from "Like a Stone"
Audioslave is like a "mash–up" done the old–fashioned way, combining the vocals of one band with the instrumentation of another. In this case, it's not a matter of digital editing but combining the remnants of two popular bands from the '90s. Screaming rap–rock band Rage Against the Machine replaced lead vocalist Zack de la Rocha with Chris Cornell of Soundgarden, one of the great rock metal bands from Seattle during the early '90s grunge movement. The combination works better than anyone expected. Who knew that Rage could tone down enough to play more of a classic hard–rock sound, reminiscent of Led Zeppelin and Queen? How can a band go wrong with one of the best lead vocalists in rock, ranking with the likes of Robert Plant, Freddie Mercury, Sammy Hagar and Gary Cherone?
It's one of the best rock albums of the last year, but I'm just as impressed that the Rage members turned over all lyrical control to Cornell. Rage Against the Machine has a reputation for bad language and controversial worldwide political causes; you can view them for yourself at www.axisofjustice.com. Cornell, on the other hand, has been known to explore spirituality and Christianity in his lyrics as far back as his days with Soundgarden. His words on Audioslave don't disappoint, except for the strong rocker "Set it Off," which drops the f–bomb twice.
The album's single "Like a Stone" has enough content to warrant its own essay. The chorus (excerpted above) is a strong plea for salvation and to be in God's presence. No doubt many will be hung up on the lyric, "On my deathbed I will ...1