0051. Rage Against The Machine – The Battle Of Los Angeles [1999]


Why did I choose this album over the self-titled debut and Evil Empire?  Because even though this album may not have as many of the more memorable Rage singles, it’s still a fuckin’ powerful Rage album.  There will most likely be other Rage albums on this list before we get to 1,001.  For now, I humbly ask for your attention to be directed to this one, and I hope you realize that it’s just as solid and enjoyable as the previous two albums.

I have this weird feeling that most people who know about Rage only know the singles like Killing In The Name, Bulls On Parade, People Of The Sun, Freedom, etc.  Then again, I get that feeling about a lot of brutal bands that have somehow managed to temporarily piss in the mainstream.  I have little doubt that my opinion is colored by my utter lack of faith in the majority of humanity, but I have seen people leave live shows after the band played their single(s).  There could be reasonable circumstances behind that, but I rather doubt it.

Anyway, yeah, this album is fantastic.  You should definitely also check out the music video for Sleep Now In The Fire:

That actually happened, although trading didn’t actually stop.  They just closed the doors out of fear that people would rush in and stir shit up.  Anyway, check out the fuckin’ album if you don’t already know the entirety of its awesomeness.

Wikipedia Says:

The Battle of Los Angeles is the third studio album by American rap metal band Rage Against the Machine. It was released on November 2, 1999, over three years after their second studio album, Evil Empire. BetweenEvil Empire and Los Angeles, the band released a live album, titled Live & Rare. This album is Rage Against the Machine’s most recent album consisting of original material. The Battle of Los Angeles was nominated for the 2001 Grammy Award for Best Rock Album.


The album was named for the Battle of Los Angeles which took place on February 25, 1942. The Battle of Los Angeles was heavily influenced by the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. “Testify”, “Sleep Now in the Fire“, “Voice of the Voiceless”, among other songs, include direct quotes from the novel, and mention key Orwellian terms in the lyrics.[citation needed] “Voice of the Voiceless”, a song referring to Mumia Abu Jamal, contains a quotation from the writings of Mao Zedong[where?]. Another Rage-Mumia-Mao connection can be seen in Mumia’s paraphrased words from Mao’s “power grows out of the barrel of a gun” when Mumia gave his court testimony: “It is America who has seized political power from the Indian [Native American] race, not by God, not by Christianity, not by goodness, but by the barrel of a gun.”[1]

Release and promotion[edit]

The song “Calm Like a Bomb” is featured in the credits of The Matrix Reloaded. The videos to “Sleep Now in the Fire” and “Testify” were directed by documentarianMichael Moore. Both “Testify” and “Guerrilla Radio” are also featured in the video game Rock Band 2, being on-disc and downloadable, respectively.

The album debuted at #1 on Billboard‘s Top 200 selling 420,000 copies its first week. That week saw a busy CD release schedule. The album denied Mariah Carey’s highly anticipated album the chance to open at #1. “Guerrilla Radio” was featured in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, albeit heavily edited on the Nintendo 64version, and it is also heavily edited on “Madden NFL 10“. Both Time and Rolling Stone named it the Best Album of 1999. It was listed as #53 in SPIN Magazine’s 100 Greatest Albums, 1985-2005.

The album cover art was an original artwork by the LA Street Phantom aka Joey Krebs aka Joel Jaramillo, a well-known Los Angeles artist who has exhibited at numerous galleries in Los Angeles, New York City and throughout the United States.[2] Despite claims to the contrary, the image was not inspired by images from the 1992 street riots of LA or from images of Munich, but by the band’s own music and words, and represents one in a series of images of the artist’s work, which can also be seen on various street murals in Los Angeles.[citation needed]

Saul Williams sampled “Born of a Broken Man” for his song “Om Nia Merican”, which appeared on his 2001 album Amethyst Rock Star.

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars [3]
Entertainment Weekly A [4]
NME 7/10 [5]
Robert Christgau (1-star Honorable Mention) [6]
Rolling Stone 4/5 stars [7]
Spin 10/10 [8]
Vibe favorable [9]
Yahoo! Music favorable [10]
Rock Hard (de) 8.5/10[11]

In 2003, The Battle of Los Angeleswas ranked number 426 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 2005, the album was ranked number 369 inRock Hard magazine’s book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.[12]


Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Zack de la Rocha, all music composed by Rage Against the Machine.

No. Title Length
1. Testify 3:30
2. Guerrilla Radio 3:26
3. Calm Like a Bomb 4:58
4. “Mic Check” 3:33
5. Sleep Now in the Fire 3:25
6. “Born of a Broken Man” 4:40
7. “Born as Ghosts” 3:22
8. “Maria” 3:48
9. “Voice of the Voiceless” 2:31
10. “New Millennium Homes” 3:44
11. “Ashes in the Fall” 4:37
12. “War Within a Breath” 3:36
Total length:
Bonus promo CD/tape

In the US, some retail stores gave a free promo CD to those who pre-ordered the CD. It contained 2 tracks: “Clear the Lane” and “Hadda Be Playing on the Juke Box”. In Australia certain chains gave a promo tape to those who pre-ordered titled “New… Live… Rare” which featured “Calm Like a Bomb” and the aforementioned all on one side and repeating on side B. All versions are the same as on their proper CD releases.




  • Brendan O’Brienproduction, mixing
  • Rage Against the Machine – co-production
  • Nick DiDia – engineering, recording
  • Russ Fowler – additional engineering
  • Sugar D – additional engineering
  • German Villacorta – assistant engineering (at A&M Studios)
  • Roger Sommers – assistant engineering (at Royaltone Studios)
  • Kevin Lively – assistant engineering (at Silent Sound Studios)
  • Ryan Williams – engineering (at Southern Tracks)
  • Karl Egsieker – assistant engineering (at Southern Tracks)
  • Monique Mitzrahl – assistant engineering (at Sunset Sound)
  • Kevin Dean – assistant engineering (at Sunset Sound)
  • Michael Parnin – assistant engineering (at Westlake Audio)
  • “Atom” – assistant engineering (at Westlake Audio)
  • Stephen Marcussen – mastering
  • Andrew Garver – digital editing
  • Cheryl Mondello – production coordination
  • Erin Haley – production coordination
Artwork and design
  • Rage Against the Machine – art direction
  • Aimee MacAuley – art direction
  • Joey Krebs – artwork
  • Danny Clinch – photography
  • eye cue – photography
  • Steven Tirona – additional photography
  • A&M Studios, Los Angeles, CA – recording, mixing
  • Royaltone Studios, Los Angeles, CA – recording, mixing
  • Silent Sound Studios, Atlanta, GA – recording, mixing
  • Southern Tracks, Atlanta, GA – recording, mixing
  • Sunset Sound, Los Angeles, CA – recording, mixing
  • Westlake Audio, Los Angeles, CA – recording, mixing
  • A&M Mastering Studios, Los Angeles, CA – mastering



Chart Peak
Australian Albums (ARIA)[13] 2
Austrian Albums (Ö3 Austria)[14] 17
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Flanders)[15] 20
Belgian Albums (Ultratop Wallonia)[16] 25
Canadian Albums(Billboard)[17] 1
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[18] 28
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[19] 2
French Albums (SNEP)[20] 10
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[21] 7
New Zealand Albums (Recorded Music NZ)[22] 1
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[23] 2
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[24] 4
Swiss Albums (Schweizer Hitparade)[25] 15
UK Albums (OCC)[26] 23
US Billboard 200[27] 1
US Top Catalog Albums (Billboard)[28] 43


Single Chart Peak
Guerrilla Radio Norway (VG-lista)[29] 17
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[30] 42
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[26] 32
US Alternative Songs(Billboard)[31] 6
US Billboard Hot 100[32] 69
US Mainstream Rock(Billboard)[33] 11
Sleep Now in the Fire UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[26] 43
US Alternative Songs(Billboard)[31] 8
US Mainstream Rock(Billboard)[33] 16
Testify US Alternative Songs(Billboard)[31] 16
US Mainstream Rock(Billboard)[33] 22


Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[34] Platinum 70,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[35] 2× Platinum 200,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[36] Gold 7,500^
United Kingdom (BPI)[37] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[38] 2× Platinum 2,000,000^
*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

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