The idea of Prophets of Rage has never sat comfortably with me. The idea of a bunch of old men trying to come back and be the voice of a generation – even if they may have some good points – strikes that cynical bone in my body. However, if you remove the politics a band should be judged on their music, and we now have their first EP, The Party’s Over. With two original tracks and three covers, it should be an insight into exactly what the Prophets of Rage are.
And it turns out what they are is a poor substitute for the bands they came from. ‘Prophets of Rage’ kicks things off with a siren (which really should be banned) before a Rage Against The Machine tribute band kick in. Which is, of course, harsh but it is genuinely what it sounds like. Tom Morello, Brad Wilk and Tim Commerford have done such great things, but this just isn’t one of them. The whole thing feels old, and it sounds tired and none of the bands these guys came from can ever be accused of that.
It’s still better than ‘The Party’s Over’ which trundles along at a mid-tempo pace never getting anywhere. That Morello groove is there, but in this setting, it doesn’t feel like the revolutionary playing that it is. It sounds like something we’ve heard a million times before and done better too.
We’re then on to the covers, and you have to wonder why they went for ‘Killing in the Name’. It’s a brilliant song, but it has been done by everyone and with three-quarters of Rage Against The Machine on board you can’t help but think they could have been more inventive. This isn’t even the best cover of the song you’ll hear never mind comparing it to the original.
To be honest, I’m less au-fait with Public Enemy’s discography, so I don’t know if ‘Shut Em Down’ is a similarly uninspired choice. I am pretty sure that covering ‘No Sleep Til Brooklyn’ is hardly an original idea, even if you do call it ‘No Sleep Til Cleveland.’ However, ignoring that, they both sound as tired and as worn out as the rest of the EP. To some degree the quality of these songs allows them to rise above, but if you were going to listen to them, I have no idea why you’d choose these versions.
There is a significant presence hanging over this album, and that’s Zack De La Rocha. You can’t help but feel that if he were willing to go back to Rage this whole thing would be ditched without a second thought. As things stand, you are left with a poor tribute to the legacies of these brilliant musicians and a band that is more likely to inspire apathy than revolution.