In one of the worst kept secrets of the Popblerd roundtable, we’re big Soundgarden fans. There are a bunch of us that are foaming at the mouth for the new album, King Animal, set for release on November 13th. Fans and casual bystanders were given room to pause this past spring when ‘Live to Rise,’ graced earlobes as the lead track on The Avengers soundtrack. Diehards faces blanched in fear that this would be SG 2.0, but the band put to rest the fear early on that the play for ‘Live to Rise,’ was all about the Benjamins.
So here’s the first true taste – the first single. One of the most underrated things about Soundgarden is that they were and most definitely still are…an experimental rock band. Of the major four alternative acts that came out of Seattle – AIC, Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden – Soundgarden takes experimental in spades. When 1998’s Down on the Upside came out, I really hated it. It wasn’t badmotorfinger and it wasn’t superUNKNOWN and I couldn’t wrap myself around anything on the album. Over the course of the last decade though, I’ve come back to it, and then back to it some more and found incredibly tight tracks that didn’t sound like those two albums, but painted with wider strokes.
‘Been Away Too Long,’ plays to all of the band’s strengths. It’s as if Thayil never went away and the guitars are front and center as a very familiar Soundgarden riff comes rumbling into your ears on both sides. Cameron deftly weaves in and out of the riffs and, along with Ben Sheppard’s steady hand on the bass drives the track in multiple directions while Cornell wails in his gritted teeth staccato.
Give it a listen…a guarantee you’ll have it on repeat before the day is out…