Combining rock, metal, hip hop, electronica and anything else they could into their veritable long-island iced tea of a music style, Rage Against the Machine thrashed their way onto the Los Angeles music scene in 1991 with their self-produced cassette, including the hit "Bullet in the Head." The single led the band, comprised of vocalist Zack de la Rocha, guitarist Tom Morello, bassist Tim Bob, and drummer Brad Wilk, to a record deal with Epic. In addition to their fierce, leftist-charged lyrics and rants at concerts, RATM spent much of their time off the stage supporting groups such as FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting), Rock for Choice and Refuse & Reist, among others. Following their 1992 eponymous debut album, and amidst rumors of breaking up, Rage released their follow-up in 1996 with Evil Empire and 1999's The Battle of Los Angeles, both of which were hits. de la Rocha left the band in the fall of 2000 to pursue solo efforts, while the rest of the members went on to form Audioslave with Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell.
The raw and pure emotional power behind Rage Against the Machine's music harkens back to the honesty of late 1970's punk, where bands didn't care who heard it as long as they made sure they said it. Zach de la Rocha's vocals could be dubbed rallying cries more than songs in many instances, but with the brilliant musical backing they pack even more of a force. Beyond the pure raw talent the band comprises, their ability to span myriad genres within one song gives them a unique and important place in the music world, allowing different styles to discover each other and opening the door to new collaboration opportunities. Unlike many bands from the 1990s whose music sounds dated and from that era, Rage's hardcore eccentricity withstands the test of time and sounds just as fresh, politically relevant and invigorating as ever today.