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Tom Morello: The Nightwatchman: World Wide Rebel Songs

Album Review

Marxist axeman broadens radical folk-rock persona.

Softening his signature rap- metal attack, Rage guitarist Morello dons his agit-folk troubadour mantle for a third time on this solid campfire songbook, which is less austere and more diverse than its predecessors.

As ever, the ghosts of Woody Guthrie and Johnny Cash hover close during Biblically bleak dark-country ballads such as The Fifth Horseman Of The Apocalypse and God Help Us All. But there is more of a rowdy, communal, Dylan-esque warmth to gospel-fired rock’n’soul solidarity anthems like Save The Hammer For The Man or Speak And Make Lightning.

With lyrics that touch on revolution, war and social injustice, but never in an overly preachy or literal way, the raspy-voiced Morello is shaping up to be a rabble-rousing roots-rock everyman in the Joe Strummer vein. Respect.

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