Home Read Albums Of The Week: Tom Morello | The Atlas Underground Fire

Albums Of The Week: Tom Morello | The Atlas Underground Fire

The modern-day guitar hero rages against uniformity on another wildly diverse set.


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “Arriving three years after the 2018 release of his most ambitious album The Atlas Underground, legendary guitarist and two-time Grammy winner Tom Morello’s latest release is a followup entitled The Atlas Underground Fire.

Morello’s remarkable guitar playing will be on full display on the record, which fuses rock, alternative and electronic music together with collaborations from a mix of music icons and cutting-edge artists. The acclaimed list of collaborators includes Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Vedder, Bring Me the Horizon, Phem, Damian Marley, Sama’ Abdulhadi, Mike Posner and more.

Morello — co-founder of Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave and Prophets of Rage —  is widely known as a barrier breaking guitarist who continues to push the limits and prove the transformative power of music. Throughout his acclaimed career, he has collaborated with everyone from Wu-Tang Clan to Johnny Cash.

On The Atlas Underground Fire, as he did on 2018’s The Atlas Underground, Morello took a path into new sonic territory with the project’s breadth of talented collaborators, transforming his sound. With his guitar leading the way, Morello continues to create a powerful combination of different genres.

The album, as testified by Morello, is a clear byproduct of dark and challenging pandemic days. Recording guitars on his phone, the album was made both creatively and technically from his home studio in Los Angeles, while sharing files with collaborators around the globe. “During lockdown I had no access to an engineer, so I had to record all of the guitar parts on the voice memo of my phone,” said Morello. “This seemed like an outrageous idea but it led to a freedom in creativity in that I could not overthink any of the guitar parts and just had to trust my instincts.”

And while Morello is known as one of the world’s greatest social justice crusaders who has written songs that quickly became manifestos, he said the pandemic allowed him a freedom on this album to follow more of the emotions and anxiety of the times. “This record was a life raft in a difficult time that allowed me to find new ways of creating new global artistic connections that helped transform a time of fear and anxiety into one of musical expression and rocking jams,” said Morello. To be sure, Morello isn’t done with social justice manifestos, and many of those threads can be found within the new album, but unusual times created an altogether unique album.”