Soundgarden – King Animal
Grunge titans Soundgarden have been away for a long time, much to the dismay of Generation X. During their glory days, the band was associated with Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam, and was at the forefront of the Seattle sound. Having found their niche with a combination of grunge and progressive-style metal songs, the band demonstrated their talents, from Chris Cornell’s roaring voice to Kim Thayil’s gloomy solos.
Now once again together, the band has produced an album that will surely satiate the hunger of fans and grunge loyalists alike. King Animal opens with Been Away Too Long, a fitting title. Slightly different to their past tracks, the song is very spirited, with a riff that is rife with attitude and angst.
Blood On The Valley Floor has a vague hint of the earlier sound that immortalised their songs within the confines of grunge, and the drudging instruments all work well together. The lead guitar from Thayil forms a strong layer over the bass of Ben Shepherd, and Matt Cameron’s drums issue slight pauses which give the song a distinct groove that almost forces the listener to nod their head to the beat.
Not ones to shy away from experimenting with bold, new musical directions, Bones Of Birds is one of the more melodic songs featured on the album, and the vocals from Cornell are soothing, really emphasising the lyrics. Worse Dreams develops into an intense anthem of energy. The intro is amazingly atmospheric, with quiet guitar playing overtaken by a prominent bass line and light drumming. However, as soon as the chorus comes around, all the members take their place together, projecting a heavy and clear build-up towards an outro that echoes on and on.
There are hidden moments of interesting experimentation on the album, a technique that the band has kept up since the beginning of their career. All in all, the project has been worth waiting for, and the assurance that the guys will now be touring for the album is a comforting feeling. After nearly twenty years away, it is most definitely refreshing to know that grunge is still alive and well.
Watch the video for Been Away Too Long here: