Rage Against the Machine (album)

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Rage Against the Machine
Studio album by Rage Against the Machine
Released November 3, 1992
Recorded April–May 1992
  • Sound City, Van Nuys, CA
  • Scream Studios, Studio City, CA
  • Industrial Recording, North Hollywood, CA
Length 52:52
Label Epic
Producer Garth Richardson, Rage Against the Machine
Rage Against the Machine chronology
Rage Against the Machine (demo album)
Rage Against the Machine
Evil Empire
Singles from Rage Against the Machine
  1. "Killing in the Name"
    Released: November 2, 1992
  2. "Bullet in the Head"
    Released: December 29, 1992
  3. "Bombtrack"
    Released: June 20, 1993
  4. "Freedom"
    Released: August 23, 1994

Rage Against the Machine is the debut studio album by American rap metal band Rage Against the Machine.[1] The album was released on November 3, 1992. It went to #1 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, and #45 on the Billboard 200 chart.

"Know Your Enemy" features Tool vocalist Maynard James Keenan on "additional vocals", and also features Jane's Addiction drummer Stephen Perkins on trashcan percussion. Keenan has been known on occasion to appear onstage with the band to perform the song. The album cover features the self-immolation of Thích Quảng Đức that occurred on June 11, 1963.

Artwork and sleeve notes[edit]

The cover features a photo of the self-immolation of Thích Quảng Đức, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk, in Saigon in 1963. The monk was protesting President Ngô Đình Diệm's administration for oppressing the Buddhist religion. The photograph drew international attention and persuaded U.S. President John F. Kennedy to withdraw support for Ngô Đình Diệm's government. It was taken by Associated Press correspondent Malcolm Browne; a similar photograph earned the award of World Press Photo of the Year in 1963.

The songs on Rage Against the Machine all feature political messages. Activists such as Provisional IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands and Black Panther Party founder Huey P. Newton are listed in the "Thanks For Inspiration" section. Also thanked were Ian and Alec MacKaye—de la Rocha was straight edge at the time, though he later took up smoking.[2]

The lyrics for each song were printed in the album booklet with the exception of those for "Killing in the Name", which were omitted; the booklet reads "2. KILLING IN THE NAME", skips the lyrics and continues with the next song.

The statement "no samples, keyboards or synthesizers used in the making of this record" can be found at the end of the sleeve notes. Similar statements were made in the band's subsequent albums. The band also refer to themselves as "Guilty Parties" for each album.


The album was supported by the Rage Against the Machine Tour which commenced in early 1993 and concluded on December 31, 1993.[3]

XX 20th Anniversary Edition[edit]

The band announced on October 9, 2012, via their Facebook page that they would be releasing a special 20th anniversary boxset to commemorate the group's debut album. The boxset contains never-before-released concert material, including the band's 2010 Finsbury Park show and footage from early in their career, as well as a digitally-remastered version of the album, b-sides and the original demo tape (on disc for the first time).[4][5] The collection was released on November 27, 2012.[5]

The release features 3 distinct versions:

  • Deluxe Box Set featuring two CDs, two DVDs, one 12" 180gm vinyl LP, one 40 page booklet and two-sided poster
  • Special Edition featuring two CDs and a bonus DVD featuring six tracks
  • Single compact disc (with three bonus tracks)

Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[6]
Consequence of Sound B[7]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music 4/5 stars[8]
Los Angeles Times 3.5/4 stars[9]
MusicHound Rock 4.5/5[10]
NME 7/10[11]
Q 3/5 stars[12]
Rolling Stone 4.5/5 stars[13]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide 4/5 stars[14]
Sputnikmusic 5/5[15]

In a contemporary review, NME wrote that "what makes RATM more than just another bunch of prodigiously capable genre-benders is their total lack of pretension or contrivance ... the results burn with an undeniable conviction."[11] Q magazine deemed it "a record of real attitude and energy",[12] while Los Angeles Times critic Robert Hilburn hailed it as "a striking, politically conscious debut" and de la Rocha "a bona fide star who combines on stage a Bob Marley-like charisma and a Chuck D.-style rap command -- and the music itself is as tough and relentless as his raps."[9] Robert Christgau was somewhat less impressed in The Village Voice, summing it up as "metal for rap-lovers--and opera-haters" while naming "Know Your Enemy" and "Wake Up" as highlights.[16] AllMusic reviewer Eduardo Rivadavia wrote in a retrospective review, "it was the first album to successfully merge the seemingly disparate sounds of rap and heavy metal", he also praised the album's "meaningful rhymes and emotionally charged conviction".[6]

In 2001, Q named Rage Against the Machine as one of the 50 Heaviest Albums Of All Time. The album is included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die. In 2012, the album was ranked number 365 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[17] BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe named Rage Against the Machine as one of four 'Masterpieces'. This was his best album, on December 2, 2008.[1] In October 2011, Rage Against the Machine was ranked number five on Guitar World magazine's top ten list of guitar albums of 1992.[18]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Rage Against the Machine (Tim Commerford, Zack de la Rocha, Tom Morello, Brad Wilk). 

Original track listing
No. Title Length
1. "Bombtrack"   4:04
2. "Killing in the Name"   5:14
3. "Take the Power Back"   5:37
4. "Settle for Nothing"   4:48
5. "Bullet in the Head"   5:07
6. "Know Your Enemy" (feat. Maynard James Keenan) 4:55
7. "Wake Up"   6:04
8. "Fistful of Steel"   5:31
9. "Township Rebellion"   5:24
10. "Freedom"   6:06
Total length:
Anger Is a Gift bonus disc – released with the 1995 Australian CD re-release
  1. "Darkness" – 3:40
  2. "Year of tha Boomerang" – 4:02
  3. "Freedom" (Remix) – 6:14
  4. "Take the Power Back" (Live) – 6:12

Bonus Maxi 12" from the "Limited Tour Edition" red vinyl 1993 European re-release included this second LP labeled sides C and D

  1. C1 "Freedom" (Live) – 6:13
  2. C2 "Bombtrack" (From Mark Goodier's "Evening Session") – 4:08
  3. C3 "Bullet in the Head" (Remix) – 5:40
  4. D1 "Darkness of Greed" – 3:40
  5. D2 "Bullet in the Head" (Live) – 5:44
  6. D3 "Bombtrack" (Live) – 5:33

All songs from both bonuses are the versions from previously released singles and promos, except C1 which is from a different performance. No information is given on the 12" about the date nor venue.


Rage Against the Machine
Additional musicians
Technical personnel


Year Chart Peak
1993 Australian Albums (ARIA)[19] 12
2012 Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[20] 81
1995 Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[21] 37
1993 Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[22] 5
2001 French Albums (SNEP)[23] 129
1993[24] German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[25] 22
1993 New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[26] 9
1993 Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[27] 22
1993 Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[28] 16
1993[29] UK Albums (OCC)[30] 17
1994[31] US Billboard 200[32] 45


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[33] 5× Platinum 350,000^
Austria (IFPI Austria)[34] Gold 25,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[35] Platinum 100,000^
Germany (BVMI)[36] Gold 250,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[37] Platinum 15,000^
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[38] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[39] 2× Platinum 600,000^
United States (RIAA)[40] 3× Platinum 3,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b The RMF Loves Rage Against The Machine - Rage Against The Machine (1992) Real Music Forum
  2. ^ Kane, Rich (November 1999), Anger is a Gift. Retrieved February 27, 2007.
  3. ^ Rage Against the Machine Tour - eNotes.com
  4. ^ "Rage Against The Machine". Facebook. Retrieved 2013-01-03. 
  5. ^ a b "Rage Against The Machine XX 20th Anniversary | Rage Against The Machine Official Site". Ratm.com. 2012-07-09. Retrieved 2013-01-03. 
  6. ^ a b Rivadavia, Eduardo. "Rage Against the Machine > Review". Allmusic. Retrieved 2011-04-12. 
  7. ^ Bray, Ryan. "Album Review: Rage Against The Machine – XX 20th Anniversary Deluxe Box Set". Retrieved 2012-11-28. 
  8. ^ Larkin, Colin (2011). "Rage Against the Machine". Encyclopedia of Popular Music (5th ed.). Omnibus Press. ISBN 0857125958. 
  9. ^ a b Hilburn, Robert (December 1, 2002). "Too volatile a mix to last?". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 19, 2016. 
  10. ^ Rucker, Leland (1999). "Rage Against the Machine". In Graff, Gary. MusicHound Rock: The Essential Album Guide. Detroit: Visible Ink Press. ISBN 1-57859-061-2. 
  11. ^ a b "Review". NME. February 6, 1993. p. 29. 
  12. ^ a b "Review". Q. March 1993. p. 90. 
  13. ^ "Rage Against the Machine - XX", Rolling Stone, November 27, 2012, retrieved November 30, 2012 
  14. ^ Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian, eds. (2004). "Rage Against the Machine". The Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-743-20169-8. 
  15. ^ Hartwig, Andrew. "Rage Against the Machine: Rage Against the Machine". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 2005-01-14. 
  16. ^ Christgau, Robert (March 9, 1993). "Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved August 19, 2016. 
  17. ^ "500 greatest albums of all time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2012-04-20. 
  18. ^ Grassi, Tony. "Photo Gallery: The Top 10 Guitar Albums of 1992". GuitarWorld.com. Retrieved 2011-10-24. 
  19. ^ "Australiancharts.com – Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine". Hung Medien.
  20. ^ "Ultratop.be – Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine" (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
  21. ^ "Ultratop.be – Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine" (in French). Hung Medien.
  22. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine" (in Dutch). Hung Medien.
  23. ^ "Lescharts.com – Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine". Hung Medien.
  24. ^ "Offizielle Deutsche Charts – Top 100 Album-Charts". www.offiziellecharts.de (in German). GfK Entertainment. 
  25. ^ "Longplay-Chartverfolgung at Musicline" (in German). Musicline.de. Phononet GmbH.
  26. ^ "Charts.org.nz – Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine". Hung Medien.
  27. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine". Hung Medien.
  28. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine". Hung Medien.
  29. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 75". www.officialcharts.com. The Official UK Charts Company. 
  30. ^ "Rage Against the Machine | Artist | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart
  31. ^ "Chart Search". www.billboard.com. Billboard. 
  32. ^ "Rage Against the Machine – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Rage Against the Machine.
  33. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2015 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 
  34. ^ "Austrian album certifications – Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine" (in German). IFPI Austria.  Enter Rage Against the Machine in the field Interpret. Enter Rage Against the Machine in the field Titel. Select album in the field Format. Click Suchen
  35. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine". Music Canada. 
  36. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Rage Against the Machine; 'Rage Against the Machine')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. 
  37. ^ "New Zealand album certifications – Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine". Recorded Music NZ. 
  38. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (Rage Against the Machine; 'Rage Against the Machine')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien. 
  39. ^ "British album certifications – Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Rage Against the Machine in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  40. ^ "American album certifications – Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH