Epic - 2002 - 65 minutes

People didn't pay half as much attention to Chris Cornell's solo career as they did to his former band Soundgarden, while Rage Against the Machine released their best album, 'Renegades', after splitting. That Cornell should hook up with the latter's guitar, bass and drums (Tom Morello, Tim Comerford and Brad Wilk) as Audioslave puts commercial karma and strength in numbers on a whole new level.

Take a trawl back and the last hard rock debut to be fuelled by such a sense of anticipation was the Foo Fighters' and for large periods, Audioslave deliver on their paper promise. Taking out Rage's political diatribes and replacing them with Cornell's soaring range, the blueprint is Led Zeppelin and any other outfit that could weld tunes to timelessness. But while the first five - and strongest - tracks showcase Audioslave's ability to whip instruments and audiences into submission, unlike Zep, they lack the light and shade that comes with a classic. Ballads 'Like a Stone' and 'I am the Highway' prove they have it in them, but the second half of this record just riffs on and rehashes the bluster of the first.

It's worth remembering however, that they're only together for less than two years so who knows how big the jump will be another few down the line. Right now they've created a rousing album but one which doesn't tell you anything about the four individuals on it that you didn't know already.

Harry Guerin

Tracklisting: Cochise - Show Me How to Live- Gasoline - What You Are - Like a Stone - Set It Off - Shadow on the Sun - I Am The Highway - Exploder - Hypnotize - Bring Em Back Alive - Light My Way - Getaway - The Last Remaining Light