It’s been almost 30 years since Rage Against the Machine released their self-titled debut album, a genre-melding insta-classic of political rock that inspired a generation of Gen X kids to stick it to their parents by flipping the American flag hanging in their bedrooms upside down, man. While the seminal rap-metal band hasn’t released an album since 2000, their rebellion anthems haven’t lost power with time—if anything, Zach de la Rocha’s blunt, fire and brimstone rhymes feel even more unfortunately appropriate lately.
Perhaps that’s why Rockin’ 1000, a performance group based in Italy comprised of as many musicians as the name implies, released a music video taken from a concert earlier summer during which the massive assembly played RATM’s “Killing in the Name” for a crowd of delighted, fist-pumping Germans. The result is an appropriately over-the-top and noisy rendition of the track, topped off with an additional horn section that somehow didn’t end up in the original album’s masters.
Is there something darkly ironic about thousands of Italians and Germans chanting “Some of those that work forces / are the same that burn crosses” in a Frankfurt arena? Possibly. But judging how Germany hasn’t had a mass shooting since 2016 while the US has had, uh, over 250 and counting this year alone, we probably aren’t in the best position to cast aspersions. Also, there’s no denying the near-universal appeal of listening to a stadium full of adults, teens, and children gleefully shouting, “Fuck you, I won’t do what you tell me,” an anthem as relevant in 2019 as it was in 1992.