Evil Empire is the second studio album by American rock band Rage Against the Machine, released on April 16, 1996 by Epic Records. Its title refers to a term used in the early 1980s by President Ronald Reagan and many American conservatives to describe the former Soviet Union. Evil Empire debuted at number 1 on the US Billboard 200, and its single "Tire Me" won a 1996 Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance; "Bulls on Parade" and "People of the Sun" were also nominated for Grammys for Best Hard Rock Performance. The album was certified 3x platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America on May 24, 2000.
Rage Against the Machine is an American rock band from Los Angeles, California. Formed in 1991, the group consists of vocalist Zack de la Rocha, bassist and backing vocalist Tim Commerford, guitarist Tom Morello, and drummer Brad Wilk. Rage Against the Machine is well known for the members' revolutionary political views, which are expressed in many of the band's songs. As of 2010, they had sold over 16 million records worldwide.
In 1992, the band released its eponymous debut album, which became a commercial and critical success, leading to a slot in the 1993 Lollapalooza festival. In 2003, the album was ranked number 368 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. A follow-up record was released in 1996, with Evil Empire. The band's third album, The Battle of Los Angeles, followed in 1999, and in 2003, the album was ranked number 426 on the same list. During their initial nine-year run, they became one of the most popular and influential bands in music history, according to music journalist Colin Devenish. They were also ranked No. 33 on VH1's 100 Greatest Artists of Hard Rock. The band had a large influence on the nu metal genre which came to prominence during the second half of the 1990s.
In 2000, the band released the cover album Renegades. The same year, Rage Against the Machine disbanded after growing creative differences led to de la Rocha's departure. De la Rocha started a low-key solo career, while the rest of the band formed the rock supergroup Audioslave with Chris Cornell, the former frontman of Soundgarden; Audioslave recorded three albums before disbanding in 2007. The same year, Rage Against the Machine announced a reunion and performed together for the first time in seven years at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in April 2007. Up until 2011, the band continued to perform at more live venues and festivals around the world. In 2016, Morello, Commerford and Wilk formed a new band, Prophets of Rage, with Chuck D and B-Real. In 2017, Rage Against the Machine were nominated for induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in their first year of eligibility.