On “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” a man pledges allegiance to the world’s oppressed, from hungry babies to the homeless. “In My Eyes” condemns escapism via drugs, but . . .
“In My Eyes,” “Kick Out the Jams” and “Pistol Grip Pump” assault listeners with the f-word. Raw language appears on other tracks as well. The singer describes his addiction to angry music and how he gets drunk with power on stage (“Microphone Fiend”). Impersonal anarchy (bitter shouts of “Destroy all nations!” on “Renegades of Funk”) gives way to nasty expressions of murderous rage (“Street Fighting Man,” “I’m Housin’”). Worst of all is the marijuana-laced “How I Could Just Kill a Man,” which finds the singer in the role of a trigger-happy sniper and a break-in victim more than eager to cap the intruder (“I didn’t have to blast him but I did anyway/Ha, ha, ha, that young punk had to pay”).
These tunes—borrowed from both the well-known (Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Cypress Hill) and virtually unknown (MC5, Volume 10, EMPD)—have one thing in common: All resonate with Rage’s antiestablishment rhetoric. Sometimes violently. Every revolution has its Renegades, but this disc is a clanging gong (1 Cor. 13), bitterly attacking the very system that allows it to exist.