IT SEEMS LIKE you can't miss Tom Morello these days. The Rage Against the Machine guitar slinger has a satellite radio show, teaches a Master Class, and has a new solo album with some inconic guests. Morello's name just keeps dropping in industry circles, and that's usually a good thing.
His latest solo affair is the sequel to 2018's "The Atlas Underground." It features his signature crying guitar licks built around the musicianship of Rock Hall of Famers like Bruce Springsteen and Eddie Vedder, among others. While a few of the acts he collaborates with are lesser known, it's the songs with Chris Stapleton and Phantogram that suck you in and keep you listening through 12 tunes and 48 minutes of pure rock.
The 2021 album -- known as "The Atlas Underground Fire" – brings the heat from the beginning. Opening with a two-minute anthemic song called 'Harlem Hellfighter' it segs right into the remake of AC/DC's 'Highway to Hell' with searing, raw vocals from Springsteen and Vedder.
Track number four is the album's most haunting. Phantogram leads the atmospherically lush and hypnotic 'Driving to Texas' – with its strings and choir feels – straight into Morello's wicked, loaded guitar solo. It may be the album's most impressive track.
The inspiration for his latest offering came during the pandemic. With no access to a studio, he recorded guitar parts on his iPhone, storing the melodies in the cloud until a proper session could be booked.
“This record was a life raft in a difficult time,” Morello told Guitar World in August. “[It] allowed me to find new ways of creating new global artistic connections that helped transform a time of fear and anxiety into one of musical expression and rocking jams.”
No. 2 'Highway to Hell' featuring Bruce Springsteen and Eddie Vedder
No. 4 'Driving to Texas' featuring Phantogram
No. 5 'The War Inside' featuring Chris Stapleton
🛢🛢🛢/5. Available everywhere since Oct. 15, 2o21.