Evil Empire (album)

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Evil Empire
Cover illustration derived from Crimebuster with a young boy in a superhero outfit, smiling
Studio album by
ReleasedApril 16, 1996 (1996-04-16)
RecordedNovember–December 1995[1]
StudioCole Rehearsal (Los Angeles)
Genre
Length46:37
LabelEpic
ProducerBrendan O'Brien
Rage Against the Machine chronology
Rage Against the Machine
(1992)
Evil Empire
(1996)
Live & Rare
(1998)
Singles from Evil Empire
  1. "Bulls on Parade"
    Released: February 9, 1996
  2. "People of the Sun"
    Released: August 22, 1996
  3. "Vietnow"
    Released: October 10, 1997

Evil Empire is the second studio album by the American rock band Rage Against the Machine, released on April 16, 1996, by Epic Records. It debuted at number 1 on the US Billboard 200 chart with first week sales of 249,000 copies, and the song "Tire Me" won a 1996 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance; "Bulls on Parade" and "People of the Sun" were nominated for Grammys for Best Hard Rock Performance. On May 24, 2000, the album was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.[6]

The album's title is a reference to a term used in the early 1980s by President Ronald Reagan and many American conservatives to describe the Soviet Union.[7]

Background[edit]

According to MTV News, "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."[8]

The title actually came from a speech by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, and he addressed the Soviet Union as the "evil empire". If you look at the atrocities committed by the U.S. in the latter half of the 20th century, we feel that tag could be easily used to describe the U.S.

Before the May 27, 1996, performance of "Without a Face" that is featured on the band's 1998 Live & Rare album, Zack de la Rocha said: "It seems as if soon as the... the wall in Germany fell, that the US government was busy building another one on the border between the US and Mexico. Since 1986, as a result of a lot of the hate talk and hysteria that the government of the United States has been speaking, 1,500 bodies have been found on the border. We wrote this song in response to it."

"Year of tha Boomerang" had previously been included in the film Higher Learning, though its title was written as "Year of the Boomerang" on the packaging of the film's soundtrack, as well as that of the song's promotional single.

Packaging[edit]

The image of the second record was a little more ironic, you know? Considering if you look very closely at the boy's face, he symbolizes the power structure in the U.S.—and if you look at him, he's smiling as if he's in control—but if you look deeper into his face, you see that he's afraid, because he knows what's coming. He knows that poor people in the U.S. are not going to suffer in the way that they are suffering without taking action.

The cover of the album features an altered version of a painting of the 1940s–1950s comic book hero Crimebuster done by Mel Ramos, with the emblem on the boy's costume changed from a "c" to a lowercase "e", the caption "Crime Buster" changed to the album's title, and the color of the star in the background changed. The boy on the cover was author and businessman Ari Meisel when he was 11 years old. Meisel told Kerrang! that the original painting was a birthday present from Ramos.[11][12] Additional artwork for the album was created by Barbara Kruger, some of which appears in the video for "Bulls on Parade".

The album's CD booklet includes a picture of a pile of various political and philosophical books, which include:[13]

Promotion[edit]

In 1995, the band sent a free 7″ record to everyone who signed up for the fan club promoted in the liner notes of their debut. Doubling as an apology to those who had received nothing and a promotion for the upcoming album, it came in a plain cardboard-colored fold-out with a black-and-white American flag on the cover alongside the band's name and "Evil Empire" in capital letters. On the back cover was a UPC with marker scribble on the barcode. The A-side was a reissue of the Evening Session-version of "Bombtrack" first broadcast on June 7, 1993 (listed as "Bombtrack (Live on the BBC)"), and the B-side was a then-unreleased cover of N.W.A's "Fuck tha Police" that was recorded live on August 13, 1995, at a benefit concert for Mumia Abu-Jamal at the Capitol Ballroom in Washington, D.C. As with the band's debut, five singles were released in total.

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
AllMusic[14]
Chicago Tribune[15]
Entertainment WeeklyA−[16]
Houston Chronicle[17]
Los Angeles Times[18]
NME5/10[19]
Pitchfork6.1/10[20]
Rolling Stone[21]
Spin8/10[22]
The Village VoiceA−[23]

Rolling Stone said that "This music isn't supposed to be fun," and continued: "Rage Against the Machine have jacked up the sociopolitical siege mentality in their metallic hip - hop to such a dogmatic degree – and honed their sound to such maniacally shrill perfection – that the band and the roaring joys of its harangue 'n' roll seem virtually sexless."[24]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics are written by Zack de la Rocha; all music is composed by Rage Against the Machine

No.TitleLength
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:46:34

Personnel[edit]

Rage Against the Machine

Technical

Artwork and design

  • Rage Against the Machine – art direction
  • Aimée Macauley – art direction
  • Lisa Johnson – photography

Recording locations[edit]

Charts[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Weekly chart performance for Evil Empire
Chart (1996) Peak
position
Australian Albums (ARIA)[25] 2
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[26] 2
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[27] 6
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[28] 2
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[29] 4
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[30] 4
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[31] 5
French Albums (SNEP)[32] 26
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[33] 2
Hungarian Albums (MAHASZ)[34] 37
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[35] 3
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[36] 2
Scottish Albums (OCC)[37] 10
Spanish Albums (AFYVE)[38] 10
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[39] 1
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[40] 4
UK Albums (OCC)[41] 4
UK Rock & Metal Albums (OCC)[42] 1
US Billboard 200[43] 1

Year-end charts[edit]

Year-end chart performance for Evil Empire
Chart (1996) Position
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[44] 41

Certifications[edit]

Certifications for Evil Empire
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[45] Gold 35,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[46] Gold 25,000*
Belgium (BEA)[47] Gold 25,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[48] Platinum 100,000^
France (SNEP)[49] Gold 100,000*
New Zealand (RMNZ)[50] Gold 7,500^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[51] Gold 50,000^
Sweden (GLF)[52] Gold 50,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[53] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[54] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[55] 3× Platinum 3,000,000^

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

Awards[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ MTV News Staff (January 22, 1996). "Evil Empire Due From Rage Against The Machine". MTV. Retrieved 2023-01-24.
  2. ^ Lipkin, Gregg (November 18, 2009). "Masters of the Form: Rage Against the Machine 1996 - Evil Empire". PopMatters. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  3. ^ Mike Lawrence (2014-02-24). "The 25 Best Alternative Metal Albums". Metal Descent. Archived from the original on 2017-02-04.
  4. ^ Jones, Zac (May 3, 2020). "12 Greatest Nu-Metal Bands of All Time". WhatCulture. Retrieved April 29, 2022.
  5. ^ "5 Essential Nu-Metal Albums: How Slipknot, Korn, Deftones & Others Showcased Adolescent Rage with a Dramatic Flair".
  6. ^ RIAA RIAA Certification search results Archived June 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine Note: type "Evil Empire" (without quotation marks) in field "Title:"
  7. ^ Staff report (May 3, 1996). Rage Builds "Evil Empire" MTV
  8. ^ "Rage Builds "Evil Empire"". MTV. MTV.com. May 3, 1996. Retrieved 28 February 2022.
  9. ^ "It's Happening Now But People Don't See It - Zack de la Rocha on Challenging The System". YouTube. 2023-05-04. Retrieved 2023-11-28.
  10. ^ "It's Happening Now But People Don't See It - Zack de la Rocha on Challenging The System". YouTube. 2023-05-04. Retrieved 2023-11-28.
  11. ^ "Rage Against The Machine "Evil Empire" Album Cover Art Was Originally Called "Crime Buster"". FeelNumb. January 11, 2011. Archived from the original on February 9, 2013. Retrieved June 10, 2023.
  12. ^ Krovatin, Chris (April 16, 2021). "What the kid from the cover of Rage Against The Machine's Evil Empire looks like now". Kerrang!. Archived from the original on January 5, 2022. Retrieved June 10, 2023.
  13. ^ "Rage Against the Machine: Book List". Archived from the original on 2011-11-17. Retrieved 2011-11-19.
  14. ^ Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "Evil Empire – Rage Against the Machine". AllMusic. Retrieved February 15, 2012.
  15. ^ Kot, Greg (April 25, 1996). "Saved By a Guitar". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  16. ^ Sinclair, Tom (April 19, 1996). "Evil Empire". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on October 21, 2019. Retrieved February 15, 2012.
  17. ^ Chirazi, Steffan (April 14, 1996). "Rage Keeps Politics, Adds Stronger Music". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  18. ^ Cromelin, Richard (April 14, 1996). "Rage Against the Machine 'Evil Empire' Epic". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  19. ^ Cigarettes, Johnny (April 13, 1996). "Rage Against the Machine – Evil Empire". NME. Archived from the original on August 17, 2000. Retrieved January 16, 2017.
  20. ^ Schreiber, Ryan (April 1996). "Rage Against The Machine: Evil Empire". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on October 31, 2005. Retrieved December 21, 2019.
  21. ^ Wiederhorn, Jon (April 18, 1996). "Evil Empire". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 7, 2012.
  22. ^ Gold, Jonathan (May 1996). "Rage Against the Machine: Evil Empire". Spin. 12 (2): 103. Retrieved March 7, 2012.
  23. ^ Christgau, Robert (July 23, 1996). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved August 13, 2016.
  24. ^ Rolling Stone Yearbook, 26 December 1996–9 January 1997
  25. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Rage Against the Machine – Evil Empire". Hung Medien.
  26. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Rage Against the Machine – Evil Empire" (in German). Hung Medien.
  27. ^ "Ultratop.be – Rage Against the Machine – Evil Empire" (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
  28. ^ "Ultratop.be – Rage Against the Machine – Evil Empire" (in French). Hung Medien.
  29. ^ "Listen - Danmarks Officielle Hitliste - Udarbejdet af AIM Nielsen for IFPI Danmark - Uge 16". Ekstra Bladet (in Danish). Copenhagen. 1996-04-21.
  30. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Rage Against the Machine – Evil Empire" (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
  31. ^ "Rage Against the Machine: Evil Empire" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  32. ^ "Lescharts.com – Rage Against the Machine – Evil Empire". Hung Medien.
  33. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Rage Against the Machine – Evil Empire" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  34. ^ "Album Top 40 slágerlista – 1996. 22. hét" (in Hungarian). MAHASZ. Retrieved November 25, 2021.
  35. ^ "Charts.nz – Rage Against the Machine – Evil Empire". Hung Medien.
  36. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Rage Against the Machine – Evil Empire". Hung Medien.
  37. ^ "Official Scottish Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  38. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  39. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Rage Against the Machine – Evil Empire". Hung Medien.
  40. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Rage Against the Machine – Evil Empire". Hung Medien.
  41. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved November 18, 2021.
  42. ^ "Official Rock & Metal Albums Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company.
  43. ^ "Rage Against the Machine Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard.
  44. ^ "Top 100 Album-Jahrescharts" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved September 8, 2016.
  45. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 1996 Albums" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association.
  46. ^ "Austrian album certifications – Rage Against the Machine – The Evil Empire" (in German). IFPI Austria.
  47. ^ "Ultratop − Goud en Platina – albums 1996". Ultratop. Hung Medien.
  48. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Rage Against the Machine – Evil Empire". Music Canada.
  49. ^ "French album certifications – Rage Against the Machine – Evil Empire" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique.
  50. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – Rage Against the Machine – Evil Empire". Recorded Music NZ.
  51. ^ Salaverrie, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (PDF) (in Spanish) (1st ed.). Madrid: Fundación Autor/SGAE. p. 940. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. Retrieved 6 October 2019.
  52. ^ "Sverigetopplistan – Rage Against the Machine" (in Swedish). Sverigetopplistan.
  53. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards ('Evil Empire')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien.
  54. ^ "British album certifications – Rage Against the Machine – Evil Empire". British Phonographic Industry.
  55. ^ "American album certifications – Rage Against the Machine – Evil Empire". Recording Industry Association of America.

External links[edit]