As was the case on the quartet's eponymous 2002 debut, Cornell dominates the proceedings. His words typically deal with personal politics rather than the incendiary variety preferred by the Machinists, and most of the music could pass for the '80s version of '70s hard rock were it not for the squeegee-esque guitar solos Morello inserts into pleasantly heavy, albeit familiar, tracks such as "Drown Me Slowly" and "The Worm." He also remains notably airplay-conscious, as he demonstrates on "Be Yourself," a semicatchy/semibland slab of power balladry custom-made for the "Like a Stone" demographic.
Careerist moves like this one suggest that Audioslave, which was initially seen as a one-shot, may be around for the long haul. But for a band with so many liberals, Exile is awfully conservative.