While Rage Against the Machine was hands-down one of the most powerful live bands ever to plug in, on disc it seemed to get slightly less venomous with each new album.

While Rage Against the Machine was hands-down one of the most powerful live bands ever to plug in, on disc it seemed to get slightly less venomous with each new album. Live, though, that power was always—always—there. "Live at the Olympic Auditorium," recorded at the group's final two shows in September 2000, is proof. Witness the crowd roar between every song and absolutely erupt during the intros to "Calm Like a Bomb" or "People of the Sun." Ultra-tight here, Rage tears through 16 blistering cuts—"Know Your Enemy" is particularly vicious—and chips in covers of EPMD's "I'm Housin' " and MC5's "Kick Out the Jams." Particularly distressing, however, is the muting of frontman Zach de la Rocha's occasional cursing. Captured a month before de la Rocha announced his departure, "Live at the Olympic Auditorium" is nonetheless an important, ear-shredding document of a band that broke new musical ground and spawned countless imitators. It's the type of album that will help give rise to the myth of Rage for future generations. An accompanying DVD arrives Dec. 9.—WO

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