Evil Empire (album)

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For use of the phrase by Ronald Reagan and United States' conservatives, see Evil empire.
Evil Empire
Studio album by Rage Against the Machine
Released April 16, 1996 (1996-04-16)
Recorded March, 1995 – February, 1996 at Cole Rehearsal Studios, Hollywood, California; Kiss Music Studios, Melbourne, Australia
Genre Rap metal, alternative metal
Length 46:34
Label Epic
Producer Brendan O'Brien
Rage Against the Machine chronology
Rage Against the Machine
Evil Empire
The Battle of Los Angeles
Singles from Evil Empire
  1. "Year of tha Boomerang"
    Released: December 17, 1994
  2. "Bulls on Parade"
    Released: February 9, 1996
  3. "People of the Sun"
    Released: August 22, 1996
  4. "Down Rodeo"
    Released: November 16, 1996
  5. "Vietnow"
    Released: October 10, 1997

Evil Empire is the second album by American rap metal band Rage Against the Machine. It was released on April 16, 1996, almost four years after the band's self-titled debut album.

Album background[edit]

The album's title is taken from the phrase "evil empire", which was used by former U.S. President Ronald Reagan and many conservatives in describing the former Soviet Union.[1] The cover is the altered image by Mel Ramos and features Ari Meisel as the subject.[2] The caption "EVIL EMPIRE" and letter "e" on the boy's costume were originally "c" and "CRIME BUSTER".[3] Additional themes for the album were created by Barbara Kruger, and some of her artwork appears in the video clip for "Bulls on Parade", which became the first single for the album. As with their debut, five singles were released in total.

The inside of the CD booklet shows a picture of a pile of various political and philosophical books including A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn, Capital, Volume I by Karl Marx, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce and The Anarchist Cookbook.[5]

Evil Empire debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200. The song "Tire Me" won the 1996 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance. The tracks "Bulls on Parade" and "People of the Sun" were both nominated for Grammys for Best Hard Rock Performance in separate years. The album was certified triple platinum on May 24, 2000.[6]

Promotional 7″[edit]

In 1995 the band sent a free 7″ record to promote the upcoming album to everyone who signed up for the Rage Against the Machine fan club promoted in the liner notes of the debut CD as an apology for never having received anything. It came in a plain cardboard colored fold-out with a black-and-white American flag on the cover and the title "Evil Empire" and the band's name all in capitals. On the back was a UPC with marker scribble on the barcode. The A-side was a reissue of the "Evening Session" version of "Bombtrack" listed as "Bombtrack (Live on the BBC)" and the B-side was the then unreleased cover of N.W.A's "Fuck tha Police" recorded live on August 13, 1995 at a benefit concert for Mumia Abu-Jamal at the Capitol Ballroom in Washington, D.C.

  1. Side A: "Bombtrack" (Live on the BBC)
  2. Side B: "Fuck tha Police"
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [7]
Entertainment Weekly A− [8]
IGN 9.6/10 [9]
Q 3/5 stars [10]
Robert Christgau A− [11]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars [12]
Spin 8/10 [10]
Sputnikmusic 3.5/5 [13]
Yahoo! Music: J. Kordosh mixed [14]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written and arranged by Rage Against the Machine (Tim Commerford, Zack de la Rocha, Tom Morello, Brad Wilk) and all lyrics by Zack de la Rocha.

No. Title Length
1. "People of the Sun"   2:30
2. "Bulls on Parade"   3:49
3. "Vietnow"   4:39
4. "Revolver"   5:30
5. "Snakecharmer"   3:56
6. "Tire Me"   3:00
7. "Down Rodeo"   5:20
8. "Without a Face"   3:36
9. "Wind Below"   5:50
10. "Roll Right"   4:22
11. "Year of tha Boomerang"   4:02
Total length:

Personnel - "Guilty Parties"[edit]

  • Rage Against the Machine – producer, art direction
  • Aimee Macauley – Art Director
  • Nick DiDia – engineer, recording technician
  • Clay Harper – assistant engineer
  • Lisa Johnson – photography
  • Paul Kosky – recording technician
  • Bob Ludwig – mastering
  • Brendan O'Brien – producer
  • Andy Wallace – mixing
  • Caram Costanzo – second engineer
  • Dave Rat – recording technician

Chart positions[edit]

Year Chart Peak
1996 Billboard 200[15] 1
UK Album Chart 4
Year Single Chart Peak
1996 "Bulls on Parade" Billboard Hot 100 62
Modern Rock Tracks 11
Mainstream Rock Tracks 36
UK Singles Chart 8
"People of the Sun" UK Singles Chart 26



  1. ^ Staff report (May 3, 1996). Rage Builds "Evil Empire" MTV
  2. ^ Vroom Journal (August 30, 2004) Covers: Visual Artists and the Music Industry
  3. ^ Mark Malazarte Crime Buster by Mel Ramos 1993
  4. ^ de la Rocha, Zacarías Manuel "Zack" (May 3, 1996). "Rage Builds "Evil Empire"". MTV. MTV.com. Retrieved 7 April 2013. "The title "Evil Empire" is taken from what Rage Against The Machine see as Ronald Reagan's slander of the Soviet Union in the eighties, which the band feels could just as easily apply to the United States. Rage is currently finishing up a European tour but they'll be back on our evil U.S. soil for a tour in late July." 
  5. ^ http://www.ratm.net/book.html
  6. ^ RIAA RIAA Certification search results Note: type “Evil Empire” (without quotation marks) in field "Title:"
  7. ^ Thomas, Stephen. "Evil Empire - Rage Against the Machine". AllMusic. Retrieved 2012-02-15. 
  8. ^ Reviewed by Tom Sinclair (1996-04-19). "Evil Empire Review | Music Reviews and News". EW.com. Retrieved 2012-02-15. 
  9. ^ IGN Music. "Reader Review: Evil Empire - Music Feature at IGN". Uk.music.ign.com. Retrieved 2012-02-15. 
  10. ^ a b "Rage Against The Machine - Evil Empire CD Album". Cduniverse.com. 1996-04-16. Retrieved 2012-02-15. 
  11. ^ "CG: rage against the machine". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 2012-02-15. 
  12. ^ By Jon Wiederhorn (1996-04-18). "Evil Empire | Album Reviews". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  13. ^ "Rage Against the Machine Evil Empire". Sputnikmusic. February 15, 2006. 
  14. ^ Kordosh, John (1998-04-16). "Album Review: Evil Empire". Yahoo! Music. Archived from the original on 2007-05-15. Retrieved 2012-03-07. 
  15. ^ "Rage Against the Machine: Evil Empire". Billboard. Retrieved 2012-05-17. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morissette
Billboard 200 number-one album
May 4-May 10, 1996
Succeeded by
Fairweather Johnson by Hootie & the Blowfish