By Brian Ives
Last night (March 21), Tom Morello announced his new project, Atlas Underground, via a press release. It read, in full:
“THIS IS THE FIRST COMMUNIQUE FROM ATLAS UNDERGROUND: Tom Morello debuted ‘Battle Sirens’ live on stage with the songs’ collaborator, Knife Party, to a crowd of over 150,000 people last night [March 20] at the Ultra Music Festival in Miami, FL. (Watch below) The innovative rock guitarist (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave), known for pushing boundaries as a musician and political activist, has joined forces with the Australian duo to create an original hybrid track of rock and electronic music. ‘Battle Sirens’ is the first installation of Atlas Underground, a project in which Morello’s signature guitar riffs will be magnified through the lenses of today’s top artists, DJs and producers.”
“‘Atlas Underground is not a band, it’s a plan,’ clarifies Morello. ‘One part Marshall stack blowtorch heart and soul, one part Mecha-Godzilla titanium bass drop. Heaven help you all.'”
The guitarist has often collaborated with well-known electronic musicians: he played on Crystal Method’s “Name of the Game,” and the Prodigy’s “One Man Army.” More recently, on his 2012 solo cover of Bob Dylan’s “Blind Willie McTell” his use of loops and samples hinted that he was experimenting with more EDM-type elements on his own recordings.
Morello told Radio.com last year that his new album “I’m making a huge guitar record and it couldn’t be more exciting. It’s heavy and funky and devastating. What I’m trying to do is make a tentpole record that stands beside my best. I’m trying to make the guitar record.” But clearly, the album has been in the works for a long time; when Radio.com spoke to him on the red carpet at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in April of 2013, he said that he was going home to work on the album that very night after he performed. To be fair, he has been busy, playing guitar in both Bruce Springsteen‘s E Street Band on a 2014 tour, and also playing with Ozzy Osbourne as well; he’s also co-founded a new record label, Firebrand Records.
Currently, there’s no word when Atlas Underground’s next release—or communique—will be.