In today’s installment, I take a look at a song from Rage that I’ve loved for a long time and that is one of my favorites from 1999’s The Battle of Los Angeles: “Calm Like A Bomb”. I hate to admit that I didn’t truly get hip to Rage until my freshman year of college. I remember purchasing the CD in the Oakland University Bookstore during my first week of classes in 2000 after seeing them perform on the MTV Awards and being amazed and somewhat disturbed their performance. It took me a while to get into Zack de la Rocha’s lyricism and Tom Morello’s guitar, but I eventually came around during a time when I was steadily growing out of my “Hip Hop and R&B only” phase to more varied sounds, more diverse music and a more mature palette. The Battle of Los Angeles is without a doubt one of the greatest albums I’ve ever heard and is filled with some of Rage’s greatest moments: “Testify”, “Born of a Broken Man”, “Sleep Now in the Fire”, and on and on. The whole thing is a hybrid of Hip Hop lyricism, West Coast punk rock, heavy metal, Funk, folk music and leftist political ideology, and it was the moment at the end of one millennium and at the beginning of the next when RATM was truly at their peak as a mainstream rock group. They were saying and doing things that not many others would dare to on a record. Even in the liner notes on the album for the song “Testify”, the record label felt the need to change the line “B*tch feel me” by de la Rocha to “please feel me”. But out of all of the tracks, “Calm Like A Bomb” is arguably the loudest, heaviest, boldest, most fearless, most cocky, most ear-drum wrecking composition on the entire album. The deep and plodding base line and quiet whisper instantly catches the listener off guard, giving way to Zack’s pissed off, arrogant scream of “FEEL THE FUNK BLAST”, Tom Morello’s beastly thrashes of his guitar, Brad Wilk’s destructive and earth-shattering drums and Tim Commerford’s heavy funk-influenced bass. The song could easily be used as a rallying cry at any of today’s many protests around the country, from Occupy Wall Street to the recent “March Against Monsanto” movements. After the second chorus is when things get really interesting, as Morello rips the listener a new one with guitar work that sounds like it comes from another planet. Overall, “Calm Like A Bomb” is one of the greatest songs from one of the greatest albums, created by one of the greatest rock bands of all time. After this, the band would release a powerful album of covers, but then unfortunately break apart. They have been very on and off as far as performing and getting back together in the last few years, and we probably shouldn’t hold our breath for new music. For now, just enjoy this rock/rap classic.