Rage Against The Machine - The Battle Of Los Angeles (Epic) It does not take a dedicated cultural critic to see that 1999 was the year American rock music met its nadir. The rise of chauvinist trash-rock groups like Limp Bizkit and Kid Rock was like the fire that swept Woodstock 99, finally reducing its credibility to ashes. It takes radical gestures to salvage desperate situations, and what better than a new record by Rage Against The Machine? They have everything to fight for this time round: the world's a consumerist parody, its people becoming desensitised robots. That alone is enough for action. Indeed, The Battle Of Los Angeles sees all vitriolic guns blazing from the quartet. Guitar riffs worthy of the highest heavy-metal order collide head on with heavyweight funk basslines. And hovering above the sonic combustion is what sets RATM apart from their unworthy successors: Zack de la Rocha's machine-gun rap about social injustices. The lyrics take no prisoners: capitalists, warmongers and media moguls all have their shams exposed and demonised, while the hushed - the Hispanic minority, the Zapatistas, the workers - are given voice through de la Rocha's acidic homily. The thrust of tracks like Guerilla Radio and Mic Check could be just what is needed to wipe the smirk off the collective face of the masses in these pre-millennial times. With The Battle Of Los Angeles, let the war commence.