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War Within a Breath

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War Within a Breath

The Battle of Los Angeles
Rage Against the Machine
Released November 2, 1999 (1999-11-02)
Recorded September - October 1, 1998 at A&M Studios, Hollywood, CA; Royalstone Studios, North Hollywood, CA; Royaltone Studios, Hollywood, CA; Silent Sound Studios, Atlanta, GA; Southern Tracks, Atlanta, GA; Sunset Sound, Hollywood, CA; Westlake Audio, Los Angeles, CA
Genre Rap metal, alternative metal, funk metal
Length 45:10
Label Epic
Producer Brendan O'Brien and Rage Against the Machine
Rage Against the Machine chronology

Evil Empire
The Battle of Los Angeles
Singles from The Battle of Los Angeles
  1. "Guerilla Radio"
    Released: October 12, 1999
  2. "Sleep Now in the Fire"
    Released: November 4, 1999
  3. "Testify"
    Released: June 7, 2000
  4. "Calm Like a Bomb"
    Released: November 13, 2000

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. Between Evil 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.

Album information

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 documentarian Michael 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 64 version, 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.[1] 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.

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. "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."[2]

The album was named for the Battle of Los Angeles which took place on February 25, 1942.

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

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]
Sputnikmusic 4.0/5 [9]
Vibe favorable [10]
Yahoo! Music favorable [11]
Rock Hard (de) 8.5/10[12]

In 2003, The Battle of Los Angeles was 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 in Rock Hard magazine's book of The 500 Greatest Rock & Metal Albums of All Time.[13]


Track listing

All songs written and arranged by Rage Against the Machine and all lyrics by Zack de la Rocha.

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
13. "No Shelter" (Australian and Japanese bonus track) 4:06

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.


Chart positions

Year Chart Peak position
1999 The Billboard 200[14] #1
1999 Top Canadian Albums[14] #1
1999 Top Internet Albums #1
1999 German Album Charts[15] #7
1999 UK Album Chart #23
Year Single Chart Peak position
1999 "Guerrilla Radio" Modern Rock Tracks #6
1999 "Guerrilla Radio" Mainstream Rock Tracks #11
1999 "Guerrilla Radio" Canadian Singles Chart #6
1999 "Guerrilla Radio" UK Singles Chart #32
2000 "Sleep Now in the Fire" Modern Rock Tracks #8
2000 "Sleep Now in the Fire" Mainstream Rock Tracks #16
2000 "Sleep Now in the Fire" UK Singles Chart #43
2000 "Testify" Modern Rock Tracks #16
2000 "Testify" Mainstream Rock Tracks #22


External links

  • Axis Of Justice"
  • AllMusic
Preceded by
Supernatural by Santana
Billboard 200 number-one album
November 20-26, 1999
Succeeded by
Breathe by Faith Hill
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