Audioslave (album)

Audioslave is the eponymous debut studio album by American rock supergroup Audioslave. It was released on November 19, 2002, by Epic Records and Interscope Records. The album features the hit singles "Cochise", "Show Me How to Live", "What You Are", "Like a Stone", and "I Am the Highway". The album was later certified 3x platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in the United States. "Like a Stone" was nominated for a 2004 Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance.

Audioslave - Audioslave.jpg
Audioslave - Audioslave.jpg

Background

Audioslave was formed after Zack de la Rocha left Rage Against the Machine and the remaining members were searching for another vocalist. Producer and friend Rick Rubin suggested that they contact Chris Cornell. Rubin played the remaining Rage Against the Machine band members the Soundgarden song "Slaves & Bulldozers" to showcase his ability. Cornell was in the writing process of a second solo album, but decided to shelve that and pursue the opportunity to work with Tom Morello, Tim Commerford and Brad Wilk when they approached him. Morello described Cornell: "He stepped to the microphone and sang the song and I couldn't believe it. It didn't just sound good. It sounded transcendent. And... when there is an irreplaceable chemistry from the first moment, you can't deny it." The quartet wrote 21 songs during 19 days of rehearsal and began working in the studio in late May 2001.

Songs from the album were first heard when thirteen rough rehearsal demo tracks were leaked onto various peer-to-peer filesharing networks on May 16, 2002, six months before the official release of the album, under the name "Civilian" (or "The Civilian Project"). According to guitarist Tom Morello "it was very frustrating, especially with a band like this, there is a certain amount of expectation." He also said that the songs were not in their finished form and that in some cases "they weren't even the same lyrics, guitar solos, performances of any kind." In an earlier, July 2002 interview with Metal Sludge he spoke more explicitly about the incident, blaming "some jackass intern at Bad Animal Studios in Seattle" for stealing the demos and putting them on the Internet without the band's permission.

The band was nearly derailed before the album's release. Cornell was going through alcohol problems and a slot on the Ozzfest tour was canceled. During this time, there was a rumor that Cornell had checked himself into drug rehabilitation. He later confirmed it in an interview with Metal Hammer that was conducted from a clinic payphone. In a San Diego CityBeat article, Cornell explained that he went through "a horrible personal crisis" during the making of the first record, staying in rehab for two months and separating from his wife. The problems were ironed out and he remained sober till his passing in 2017. The band toured through 2003, before resting in 2004 to record their second album.

This album was released ten years after Rage Against the Machine's (Morello, Commerford, and Wilk's former band) debut album was released on November 3, 1992.

Artwork

The album cover was designed by Storm Thorgerson (with Peter Curzon and Rupert Truman) – who, as leader of the group of artists known as Hipgnosis, was best known for his cover work for Pink Floyd. "We knew we were going to set this idea of the eternal flame, the graphic flame, in Lanzarote, a volcanic island, since volcanoes suited the brooding menace of Audioslave," Thorgerson recalled. An unreleased version of the cover, shot elsewhere at the same location, features a naked man looking at the flame. "We so nearly used it," said Thorgerson, "but we were not entirely sure of the nude figure."

Reception

The album was released on November 19, 2002 and entered the Billboard 200 chart at position number seven after selling 162,000 copies in its first week. It was certified gold by the RIAA less than a month after its release, and by 2006 it had achieved triple platinum selling status. It is the most successful Audioslave album to date, having sold more than three million copies in the United States alone. The album spawned hits such as "Cochise", "Like a Stone" and "Show Me How to Live".

Despite its commercial success, Audioslave received mixed reviews. Some critics lambasted the group's effort as uninspired, and predictable. Pitchfork Media's reviewers Chris Dahlen and Ryan Schreiber praised Cornell's voice, but criticized virtually every other part of the album, calling it "the worst kind of studio rock album, rigorously controlled-- even undercut-- by studio gimmickry." They described Cornell's lyrics as "complete gibberish" and called producer Rick Rubin's work "a synthesized rock-like product that emits no heat." Jon Monks from Stylus Magazine had the same opinion. He considered Rubin's production over-polished and wrote that "lacking individuality, distinction and imagination this album is over-produced, overlong and over-indulgent." On the other hand, other critics praised the supergroup's style reminiscent of 1970s heavy metal and compared it to Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, saying they add much-needed sound and style to contemporary mainstream rock music, and have the potential to become one of the best rock bands of the 21st century. In 2005, Audioslave was ranked number 281 in Rock Hard magazine's book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.

The track "Shadow on the Sun" was also featured in Michael Mann's 2004 film Collateral.

Track listing

All lyrics written by Chris Cornell; all music composed by Audioslave.

No. Title Length
1. "Cochise" 3:42
2. "Show Me How to Live" 4:38
3. "Gasoline" 4:39
4. "What You Are" 4:09
5. "Like a Stone" 4:54
6. "Set It Off" 4:23
7. "Shadow on the Sun" 5:43
8. "I Am the Highway" 5:35
9. "Exploder" 3:26
10. "Hypnotize" 3:27
11. "Bring Em Back Alive" 5:29
12. "Light My Way" 5:03
13. "Getaway Car" 4:59
14. "The Last Remaining Light" 5:17
Total length: 65:26

DualDisc version

The album was included among a group of 15 DualDisc releases that were test marketed in two cities: Boston and Seattle. The DualDisc has the standard album on one side, and bonus material on the second side. The DVD side of the Audioslave DualDisc featured the entire album in higher resolution 20bit 48 kHz sound, as well as some videos. The higher resolution DVD side of this disc has been termed a demonstration quality audiophile release.

Connected bonus track

For a limited time the CD could be inserted into a CD-ROM and be used to access the ConnecteD website. Here, the user would be able to download bonus videos, interviews, photos, and a bonus track "Give".

Chart positions

Album

Weekly

Chart (2002–2003) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA) 8
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria) 53
Canadian Albums (Billboard) 6
Danish Albums (Hitlisten) 37
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts) 30
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista) 14
French Albums (SNEP) 51
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100) 39
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ) 4
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista) 5
Polish Albums (ZPAV) 30
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan) 14
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade) 34
UK Albums (OCC) 19
UK Rock & Metal Albums (OCC) 2
US Billboard 200 7

Year-end

Chart (2004) Peak
position
US Billboard 200 100

Singles

Year Song Chart positions
US
Hot 100
US
Modern Rock
US
Mainstream Rock
US
Adult Top 40
US
Top 40 Mainstream
2002 "Cochise" 69 9 2 - -
2003 "Like a Stone" 31 1 1 23 27
"Show Me How to Live" 67 4 2 - -
"I Am the Highway" 66 3 2 - -
2004 "What You Are" - 17 8 - -

Personnel

Audioslave
Production
  • Produced by Rick Rubin, co-produced by Audioslave
  • Mixed by Rich Costey
  • Recorded by David Schiffman and Andrew Scheps
  • Additional engineering by John Burton, Floyd Reitsma, Thom Russo, and Andrew Scheps, assisted by Chris Holmes and Darron Mora
  • Digital editing by Greg Fidelman, Thom Russo, and Andrew Scheps
  • Album production coordinator/wrangler – Lindsay Chase
  • Mastered by Vlado Meller, assisted by Steve Kadison
  • Album cover by Storm Thorgerson and Peter Curzon
  • Art direction by Storm Thorgerson, assisted by Dan Abbott and Finlay Cowan
  • "Flame" logo by Peter Curzon
  • Photography by Rupert Truman
  • Band photos by Danny Clinch
  • Sculpture made by Hothouse

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