Tom Morello - “The Atlas Underground Flood” Album Review

Story posted December 7, 2021 in Arts & Entertainment, CommRadio by Fernanda Lopez

Morello, the beloved former guitarist of rock band Audioslave and guitarist of the polarizing band, Rage Against the Machine, released what he calls the “sister album” to his former record, “The Atlas Underground Fire.”

Projects by Morello tend to be packed with collaborators and features, as he is a guitar player and producer. This is an exciting element in his music, as every track is a different experience due to the diversity of artists featured in his tracks.

The first track off this album, “A Radical In The Family '' is extremely disappointing, as the instrumentation sounds like background music from a “Watchmojo'' video. There’s nothing exciting about it, and the lack of lyrics makes this first track seem like a terribly executed instrumental which only serves as a filler.

Morello’s three leading singles were received nicely by critics, such as “Human”, featuring Barns Courtney. This tune is the most radio-friendly song Morello has made in years, especially in comparison to his previous work. 

With the help of the voice of pop singer Barns Courtney, this song sounds like it came from Linkin’s Park pop-influenced album “One More Light.”

“Hard Times'' is a track that stands out in this album, thanks to the numerous features and the fusion of genres. From hip hop to pop-rock, Jim Jones and new artist Chipotle Joe lead the song with their lyrics about financial and social inequality, talking about getting ready for “the apocalypse.”

“You’ll Get Yours” was one of the songs fans were looking forward to the most thanks to the unexpected feature with the dynamic band, “X Ambassadors.” This tune offers more of a “Fleet Foxes” instrumentation.

Morello’s guitar skills do not particularly stand out in this track, but he does manage to craft an enjoyable track that changes the pace of the album.

“I Have Seen The Way” is one of those tracks that should have never left the recording studio. This four-minute lackluster song features Morello’s electric guitar, EDM beats and the voice of his collaborator Alex Lifeson saying: “Brothers and sisters I have seen the way” over and over again.

Another low point in the album is with the song “Raising Hell”, as not even the phenomenal voice of singer-songwriter Ben Harper could save it. This tune features a country, generic pop sound with sudden repetitive guitar solos by Tom Morello.

However, Morello does not disappoint in every track, as “The Lost Cause” featuring Manchester Orchestra is extremely enjoyable. The voice of the lead singer, Andy Hull, sounds like it belongs in an “Other Lives” record.

The beautiful vocals blend with the mellow piano and soft guitar playing, showing how Morello can blend different genres while preserving his signature rock sound.

The highlight of this album was the track with the beloved British rock band “IDLES.” Known for their hardcore punk sound and explicit lyrics, this song was experimental, loud and even creepy — elements found in almost every IDLES track.

Morello managed to create an underwhelming and even forgettable album, however, his chemistry with many collaborators and versatility is extremely respectable.

Focusing on more engaging lyrics and sophisticated instrumentation will be a few of his biggest challenges for his next album.

Rating: 4/10
Reviewer’s Favorite Song: “The Bachelor (feat. IDLES)”
Reviewer’s Least Favorite Song: “A Radical In The Family (feat. San Holo)”

Fernanda Lopez is a first-year majoring in telecommunications. To contact her, email lfl5339@psu.edu