Soundgarden

Putting the "cock rock" back in "alcockternatrockive"
*special introductory paragraph!
*Screaming Life EP
*Fopp EP
*Ultramega OK
*Louder Than Love
*Badmotorfinger
*Superunknown
*Down On The Upside
*Live On I-5

The most macho band of the Seattle grunge revolution! Long hair, bare chests, detuned heavy Sabbath chords and screamed '70s-style vocals! And leaders of the alternative rock revolution! Alternative? Alternative to what? My butt playing an accordian?


Screaming Life EP - SubPop 1987.
Rating = 7

Awful, wimpy production sucks all the guts out of this bunch of solid late-60s/mid-70s genre hard rock songs (think along the lines of Physical Graffiti, Cream, Blue Cheer), but it's still fun to listen to for two reasons -- (A) singer Chris Cornell is still developing his screaming vocal delivery so you get to hear it at both its most ridiculous (is that really him wailing like an 8-year-old girl in "Little Joe"???) and wickedly coolest ("Nothing To Say"), long before his straining bombast started to seem a little overdone and cartoonish -- and (B) several of the riffs are great! Darn near most of these six tunes are full of supercatchy hard rock guitar riffs not unlike the influences whose names I listed clear up there in that first sentence.

Honestly there's only one song on here that fits the "grunge" label - the bonus sludger Sabbath-type "Nothing To Say" - but if you like hard rock, what the hell. There's psychedelicish echoings, funk stupidity, pop prettiness, Zeppy lead diddly-doos - everything but the kitchen stinks!

Should I wipe the smeared poop off the refrigerator, you think?

Reader Comments

uglytruth@hotmail.com (Hossein Nayeb)
I was wondering when the hell Soundgarden was gonna come up to this page... I was considering to start it myself but now it's all good since I would have to deal with all that HTML shit. I think this is a really good psychedelic punk/metal album, very impressive for being the debut.The production is great, better than the next two albums.Cornell doesn't sound as good as he'd later do and that's the deal with almost all of them,isn't it ? again,I can't understand how you can put down the production because it probably couldn't get any better...you hardly think of the fact that it was just the second release on Sub Pop. The highlights are "Hunted Down", "Nothing To Say" and "Little Joe"(yeah,weird vocals but the rest is great). Without taking the debut factor in consideration but still for what it is (a rock record), I give this 8 out of 10.

briantheisen84@yahoo.com
Pretty good start, even though there's only three songs I like, being Hunted Down, Entering and Nothing To Say. But all those are good, and are noteworthy for not sounding like a bunch of primative demos like I was kind of expecting, but they are also a bit differerent than what Soundgarden would later become. Sounds a bit closer to stoner than grunge, being colorful along with the heavy, and Entering is very psychadellic. Hunted Down is fast and to the point, and the winner here is Nothing To Say-great song! I love the fuzzy, dense texture to it! Everything else doesn't do much for me-and I'm glad they dropped the funk-metal influence of Little Joe (and Fopp on the next EP) early on!

Add your thoughts?


Fopp EP - SubPop 1988.
Rating = 3

Four songs - a drab original, a great cover of an already great Green River song and two horrid versions of "Fopp," which is apparently an Ohio Players song. You can get this on the same CD as Screaming Life which is a good damn thing because there's no other reason to buy it.

Is there?

Well now I'm curious. I must say - you've piqued my interest with this query, sir!

Looking at it from a strictly economic standpoint, I suppose that your purchase might help to stimulate growth in the music retail channel, which has been distressingly stagnant of late. Or, if you're a fan of cardboard, I suppose you might buy it just for the album cover. On the other hand, if you just need something to stick up your a

Reader Comments

uglytruth@hotmail.com (Hossein Nayeb)
A "fun" rock EP.Looking for quality,this would be a disapointing release from a band like Soundgarden.6 out of 10.

Add your thoughts?


Ultramega OK - SST 1988.
Rating = 7

Hey, it's a post-hardcore Led Zeppelin! Cock rox galore, cock rox galore, a hundred thousand cock rox knockin' at my door. Some funky tutelage, lots of bluesmerizin' wailin' and scraggledy-daggledy hard rock guitar tones and riffs that at times sound completely stolen from Mr. Jimmy Page (former lead guitarist of The Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin, The Firm, Coverdale/Page and Page/Plant, as well as Grammy-award winning composer of the legendary Death Wish II soundtrack) even though they weren't. I know early Sub Pop scene hipsters would be loathe to admit it, but if you placed this album side by side with the top hits of the day by Whitesnake, White Lion, White Tiger, Great White, White Leppard, White Come, Whiteinger, Whitearrant and the Bullet Whites, there's only one single solitary difference. That one single solitary difference is that this one had indie label production, no ballads, a couple of hardcore-speed songs, no marketing dollars behind it and several really good straightforward hard rock riffs. But aside from that sole single solitary difference, the Zep metal and Plant wailin' on Ultramega OK make it clear that this band belonged on a major label, not this SST college faux-baux-haux bullshit. And I don't care what the critics say -- there was NOTHING "ironic" about Soundgarden at any point in their career. As far as I can tell, in fact, they had no sense of humor about themselves or anything else at all. They were a heavy rock band - PERIOD.

And by "PERIOD," I am indeed implying that Chris Cornell looks and smells like a bloody vagina.

Which reminds me - I have a great new idea. From now on I'm going to collect all my human waste in little baggies and sell them on ebay as "Madonna's poop" for hundreds and thousands of dollars apiece. Do you like it? Will you endorse me on your television program?

Reader Comments

Jcjh20@aol.com
Seems like Soundgarden had SOME sence of humor to me, at least, as evident by the "665-667" (making fun of satanic bands putting "messages" in their songs), and the "Cover" of "One minute of Silence" (the "Heavy metal version" they say..).. but anyway, i agree with the 7 here. "Flower" is a classic, and most of the songs seem to go for a nice Sabbath-esque and/or Zeppelin-esque sound and for the most part, does pretty good. "Circle Of Power" sucks though, Hiro couldnt sing for shit.

uglytruth@hotmail.com (Hossein Nayebagha)
The very dark,raw and moody album. Still it doesn't really seem good enoug has a follow up to that Screaming Life EP... "Flower" is of course the classic.1988 and it sounds a lot like Helmet, prehaps it became an influence ? "Beyond The Wheel" demonstrates metal god vox from Cornell... but that's about it-although there are plenty of good tracks, there isn't really anything amazing about this album...it's just another good album by a very good rock band- but the dark mood is really cool. 7/10.

P.S totally disagree with the talk about the band being just a metal band, as Kim Thayil said;

"A lot of alternative people think we're like this macho metal thing 'cause we don't sing songs that are little whispers in the ear, and a lot of metal people think we're this wimpy alternative thing 'cause our name is Soundgarden, not Skullfuck."

superunknown@ananzi.co.za (Hans Burger)
Let me quote the above review for a second:

"I don't care what the critics say -- there was NOTHING "ironic" about Soundgarden at any point in their career. As far as I can tell, in fact, they had no sense of humor about themselves or anything else at all."

Now, normally I agree with most of what you say, Mark, but... Was the above remark intended to be ironic as well? I mean, I'll agree that the last three albums probably take themselves pretty seriously, but do you seriously believe that "Big Dumb Sex" isn't meant to be ironic? Do you think "Full On Kevin's Mom" isn't a joke at all? Do you think the fact that they end Louder Than Love with an over-dramatic reprise of the silliest song on the album ("Full On (Reprise)") was done in all seriousness? And "He Didn't" isn't meant to be humorous? And that when Chris says in "Power Trip" that he wants to "write the magazines the housewives read," that's a totally serious desire? And that writing a song that repeats the words "head injury" over and over is a serious artistic statement, coming from a band smart enough to make an album like Superunknown?

Personally, I can read some level of irony into at least half the songs on Louder Than Love, and I suspect the same would be true of Ultramega OK if it came with a lyrics sheet (or if I sat down and really listened).

briantheisen84@yahoo.com
Murkier and darkier, but still with some meh tracks. My favorite is Mood For Trouble, with the acoustic intro turning into a sort of Dick Dale-y punk thing, but slowing down to a droning chime in the chorus-not the last time they would effectivly do something like this. Plus it brings back good memories of high school when I was playing the whole Soundgarden discography and Faith No More's Angel Dust repeatedly. Flower also is keen, I like how Kim Thayil uses that dense hissy tone rather than just being heavy (he always has some cool tone up his sleeve). But there's more irony here than da coxrock, at least that's what those satanic and the "John Lennon cover" seem to be about.

Add your thoughts?


Louder Than Love - A&M 1989.
Rating = 8

Grunge! Heavy, sludgey, Sabbathy riffs ground into the dirt and screamed into the either. Ether? Either ether or either. Or ethel!

While we're on the subject, today my mind was trying to convince me to go up to the guy at the record store selling The Standells album, and keep saying really loudly, "You know what my favorite band is? The Standers!" over and over again, interrupting him every time he tried to speak. For some reason, this idea struck me, Mark Prindle, as entertaining. The tunes on this ablum are made up of very heavy, occasionally funky bar chords - much more Black Sabbath than the Led Zeppelin that permeated previous releases by this fine Seattle outfit. The album sounds incredibly samey during the first few listens. You really have to take each song as a separate entity to distinguish the awesome ones ("Ugly Truth," "Hands All Over") from the merely good ones ("Uncovered," "Get On The Snake"). But there are no bad ones! And Cornell is screaming like a '70s metalhead guy! Did I mention that at this point in their career, half of the band were Japanese or some related nationality? Does that mean it should be called "SMALL cock rock"?

Look, I don't write my jokes. If you have a gripe, contact that disgusting guy with the scraggly beard that's been getting press lately.

As cool as this album is, it must be acknowledged that Soundgarden's well-documented "creative renaissance" and "stylistic diversity" wouldn't come until later. There are a few mood shifts on the record -- "No Wrong No Right" is a bass-driven melancholy dirge, "Get On The Snake" is superhappy fun, "Full On Kevin's Mom" is total punk rock -- but most of it is midtempo headbanging heavy-as-shit power riffing that will bore the hell out of you if you're not into that kind of thing. Luckily, I mentally am!

Like a dentally dam!

Oooh! I had another idea! From now on, I'm going to pick all the lint off of my floor and sell it as "cleverly disguised diamonds." And if anyone says, "Hey there's no diamond here," I'll answer, "It's cleverly disguised, you stupid asshole."

Reader Comments

uglytruth@hotmail.com (Hossein Nayeb)
The most metallic album of this band is not the worst but the least interesting. The band sounds tighter than on the last album, but not as challenging prehaps- it's mainly about heavy grunge metal...I've always felt something is missing on this record and one thought is that Matt Cameron hasn't taken part in any of the writing which would make the songs less distinguishable but then I wonder if Ultramega OK had been anything different without "He Didn't". Well something is missing, and there band proved later that there was more to their music than just sludgy riffs. However, it may be pointed out that this was needed in the 80's when rock had became wimpy...just like today (2001).

It starts off good, by the fourth track things start to get repetetive...but then things get a bit faster...only too get back to the really heavy formula...and to die off with a couple of what for this band should be counted as fillers, with a litte bit of fun thrown in between-"Big Dumb Sex". A Plus to Kim Thayil, whose excellent guitar work (though still not at it's peak) makes the album stand out as more than "just a hardrock record". 7/10.

sgfantasy@core.com (Sal Di Fatta)
Hi. I just have to chime in here for a moment because I just couldn't get through another review without adding that this Mark Prindle guy is an ABSOLUTE PRICK!!!! 95% of his comments are disgusting and have no place in a band review the quality of Soundgarden! He's obviously an introvert and has absolutely no idea what he's commenting on! Being a big Soundgarden fan myself I find fault with most of what this dumbass has stated. My final comment for Mark Prindle? I think he should just beat off and practice making the cum land in his mouth! At least then he'd be doing someone a service (himself) instead of spreading his lame ass comments/jokes (if you can call them that) in here!!!!

Fltrgrl@aol.com (Marilyn Maki, NYC)
Hey Sal,

EEEEEEEEUUUIUUUWWWWWWWWWWW! Better wash your own mouth with soap! Where's the love, Sal?

briantheisen84@yahoo.com
Other than this album, I really don't get the whole Zep/Sabbath comparisons to Soundgarden. Yeah they're heavy and Cornell wails (mainly on the early albums) but they are far too dissonant, they aren't especially bluesy (only on occasions, like the Smokestack Lightning cover), and more intellegent. I'd say they are closer to the likes of The Stooges or Hendrix as well as the heavy bands of the early 70s you don't hear about, like Sir Lord Baltimore or Budgie. They just don't have the virtuosity of Zep or the meter of Sab, and the overall intent of thier music is completely different than those two bands.

Anyway, another pretty good album, especially Gun (this one does deserve the Iommic compasion) Ugly Truth, and No Wrong No Right. But like the other two, there's plenty of tracks that aren't bad, but don't do much. Then again, everything sounds more developed here. Ah well, better things are around the corner...

Add your thoughts?


Badmotorfinger - A&M 1991.
Rating = 8

Goddamn these DJs made my day! They watch Channel Zero! They're rebels without a pause! They're white guys who pretend to be urban because they're morons!

Huh? No, not Soundgarden. I'm talking about all those white guys who use words like "peeps". Idiot jackasses. This alubm is tanFAStic! Still heavy as a big piece of shit (similar to the one my dog left under the computer desk last night!), but holy frijoles the melodies are so great. MACHO to the "extreme!" (copyright Taco Bell), but burgeoning forth into colorful rainbow spectrums of divesity right from the getgo with "Rusty Cage" -- MAN, that's a great driving guitar riff!!! Even during my younger days when I was unwilling to admit that Soundgarden are incredibly talented songwriters, I was still blown away by that tune. Until halfway through, of course, when they stop playing it and the song turns into a bland trudger. Fuckers - why? Someone's fingers must have started hurting or something.

Elseville on the record there's of course more chest-pounding earthblasts like "Outshined" and "Jesus Christ Pose," but more! "Drawing Flies" sounds like it's from the mid-60s and has a saxophone! "Holy Water" has a smoky bar melancholy to it! One part of "Mind Riot" bears a slight resemblance to the Rolling Stones' "Jigsaw Puzzle"! Plus, a clear indication that this band of HEAVIES understands tonal quality a hella more than, you know, TOOL, is the fact that several of the songs have like these double-chord things going on. Like it's not just a low A. It's a low A with the guy's pinky finger sticking way up there touching those two higher notes so it's vibrant and filled with just gorgeous subtones or harmonies or whatever the hell someone who knows anything at all about music would call it. Check out "Room A Thousand Years Wide" if you don't understand what the hell it is I'm trying to say. Holy christ is that song gorgeous.

Grand record. VERY high 8. Only thing preventing Mr. Prindle from awarding a 9 or 10 to this excellent collaboration between detuned guitars and harmonic bliss is the fact that the band in three or four different songs deviates from a great riff to zero in on some bland go-nowhere piece of crap. "Searching With My Good Eye Closed" is a perfect example. Try to explain to me why they leave the walking cool bluesiness of the first half to run that two-note sliding shitcastle non-riff into the ground for the last three minutes. Atticus Tuckers! Finnegan Begin Again!

Reader Comments

jamshidi@purdue.edu
Ah, a good album right here. Really raw sounding and grungy, if you will. Ya gotta love soundgarden, they were a zero bullshit band. They just went out there and did their thing, and made some good music. I first got this album for 'Outshined.' Man that song rules, just all sortsa heavy and ass kickin. Other great songs like jesus christ pose, rusty cage, mind riot. I like searching with my good eye closed personally, but whatever. There are definently some down parts of the album though. Slaves and bulldozers comes to mind, but overall, a good buy, i'll give it an 8.

danzig9@hotmail.com (Daniel Lawrence)
I give this one an eight as well. Where as Superunknown is the 10 (I wouldn't know, I've only heard this one and Superunknown, but I'm guessing Superknown is the best) for many good reasons, this one still is pretty damn great. To me, this record seems to simply rock more. "Rusty Cage" and "Outshined" absolutely are great and the third track as well. I can't remember the name but I can hum it for you if you're curious. Just give me your email address and I'd be glad to do that. The tune that sticks with me the most is "Room a Thousand Years Wide" because that heavy as hell riff is just killer. The lyrics and vocals are awesome, especially when he yells! That track gets a ten from me. There are some songs that are just ok as opposed to really good, but as a whole, it's a neat album and I definitely dig it.

uglytruth@hotmail.com (Hossein Nayeb)
A giant leap towards perfection, helped by the arrival of new bassist Ben Shepherd- a great songwriter in his early twentys. What a fantastic rock record ! still heavy as hell with the great tones and melodies added... The energy of that pounding yet rolling blues song, "Drawing Flies", The beauty of that "Somewhere" outro... are the best moments of it, infact every single tune is great but I'll admit that I've never gone crazy over "New Damage". It's amazing that the band actually had more to offer...one song was for some unknown reason taken out and one was chosen as a contribution to a movie soundtrack.EVERYTHING has improved vastly since the last album. 10/10.

Jcjh20@aol.com
A 9! I really enjoy these songs a lot. They still havent diversivied their sound like on Superunknown yet, but these are really good heavy songs with great riffs and good melody! "Mind Riot" for instance is catchy as hell! "Jesus Christ Pose" (banned on MTV), "Outshined" and "Rusty Cage" are well known songs from this record. I like "Searching With My Good Eye Closed"! I dont know why, maybe its those cow noises in the beginning!

mnj4bz@sympatico.ca (Mike Forbes)
Only an 8?? What's missing here? Definitely the best album of 1991. Right from the first note I was hooked. I loved the whole album from start to finish. Give it a 10... maybe a 12

irontyrant@earthlink.net (Michael Grefski)
Quite frankly I never understood Soundgarden until this record, and I never understood them again after it. Chris Cornell has always struck me as the guy trying so hard to be cool and liberal that he became uncool in the process, and the band themselves tried to be "clever" rather than "good" too much of the time. Overall, being overly intellectual for the sake of it, like people who never buy Ted Nugent records bcause of his politics, never stopping to realize how hard and how good they rock. BUT...for one album Soundgarden threw all that crud aside and became a killer rock/metal band. Yeah, everybody loves "Rusty Cage" and "Outshined," but MY GOD what about the titanic doom riffage of "Slaves And Bulldozers?" Now THAT's a riff. Around this time they also contributed a killer track to the "Singles" movie soundtrack ("Birth Ritual"). After this it was "Spoonman" (ugh, white liberal guys writing odes to the homeless...whee) and "Black Hole Sun" (decent song, horrible, sanctimonious video...the band grinning as white consumers meet their doom). Oh, and Cornell's weepy solo stuff. Give me the complete NWA catalog over that stuff any day of the week.

steve n jules
Yeah, I pretty much agree with you Michael, but I don't totally buy into Badmotorfinger. "Rusty Cage", "Somewhere", "SWMGEC", and "Slaves and Bulldozers" are alright, but there's something missing in the mix, maybe the sound is just too polished, I dunno. It's way better than Creed tho! but when you have Eminem singing with Elton John, (who would have thought that Kim Basinger was Eminem's mother? they kept THAT quiet) I guess, anythings possible, although Chris Cornell can forkin sing, and his album "Temple of the dog" (a tribute band by the same name, to the late/great Andrew Wood, of that crappy metal band, (who do a song with that bands name in it) Mother Love Bone. Maybe save that one for the Superunknown page) is the one for me, although "Reach Down" goes on for a staggering 11 minutes, (staggering in that it goes on for 11 minutes!) the rest, featuring an unusally restrained Matt Cameron on dddrummms, Stoned Gossard and Mike McCready on guitars and Jeff Ament on a really deep 4 stringed guitar, hits the spot. Imagine a Soundgarden/Pearl Jam mix with that grunge killer, the piano! thrown in for good measure, burn it now! Talking about imagining things, imagine if Chris Cornell, say got together with some guys from Rage against the Machine! NOW they would rock!...Nah that would never happen.

Comment: As they say in France, Ne pas percer le flacon ni retirer! le joint situe sous le capuchon! SOUNDGARDEN!

My rating is a flaccid 8 (as in cock rock...ah forget it) yip, "Birth Ritual" would've stiffened it up.

uglytruth@hotmail.com (Hossein Nayebagha)
Actually, that Mother Love Bone song that gave name to the Cornell & friends project was called "Man of Golden Words". Maybe this also explains why MLB is often referred to as a (crappy) metal band - That some people should listen to it before judging it. I don't really like Mother Love Bone either and I think it's ridiculous that they'd be one of the first grunge bands around or that the end of the band was a big loss for that scene or the whole rock 'n' roll history. But they weren't really metal... Just Guns 'N' Roses for hippies.

irontyrant@earthlink.net (Michael Grefski)
Steve: your comments are worthy indeed! Sure, BIRTH RITUAL would have brightened up the package quite alot, but I maintain my comments on the album's remainder are correct! The refuse of AUDIOSLAVE only seems to bear out my assertions that Soundgarden were a band of far fewer qualities than they are given credit for. Hails to Kim for taking part (wisely) in Dave Grohl's PROBOT project, but aside from that, most Soundgarden is overrated at best, trite at worst, and Chris Cornell is better suited to making capsule sized comments on VH1 sepecials than he is on recording solo albums (yeah, Chris, we know HEART was a good band, who gives a damn what their sex was). Anyways. Mudhoney kicks Soundgarden right off the sidewalk any day of the week, so be louder than love all ya want...yer still only small fires in the grand scheme 'o riff things.

briantheisen84@yahoo.com
I like it when albums open up on two memorable but different songs, perfectly nailed here by Rusty Cage and Outshined. Should have been (or will be?) a classic rock twofer like We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions and the like. I don't think there's quite as much filler as you say here, I'd give it a nine without thinking twice. Room A Thousand Years Wide is my favorite here-although I wish there was a little more to it than just that riff-but what a riff! Plus wicked vocals! And the ending sound like King Crimson! Slaves and Bulldozers is also keen, so is New Damage and Jesus Christ Pose (naturally). For the longest time, this was my Soundgarden favorite album, I'm not sure if I'd say the same thing today, but in general all their albums are pretty different from each other, so it depends on my mood.

ddickso2@uccs.edu
A way a lone a last a loved along the.

I despise this album. Then again, I've never been a fan of the Sludgey Slow GRRRR While Some Guy Acts Like Sammy Hagar On Top school of music. I will have to admit, Superunknown is better than this, but it still suffers from a few boring go-nowhere "shitcastle" riffs, as you say. Hopefully I don't have a self-important comment posted from like five years ago calling it a "masterslice" or some such hilarity.

Naw, sludge as a whole is a violently overrated form of music. For my "Eddie" money (oh ho HO.), the only band that's done it goodtastically is Tool. And of course, Smashing Pumpkins on "X.Y.U.," but that's understood.

I still haven't heard the Swans. Could you tell?

phrakturedelbows
Should be a nine. An improvement from d previous album. My favorite groundsardine album btw, though superunknown is better. The sick guitar tones, crazy time signatures, cc's @ his peak as well... I could go on and on but I'll spare y'all d rants. Has aged very well this one, buy d crap out of it already!!!

Add your thoughts?


* Superunknown - A&M 1994. *
Rating = 10

I personally would not call it a "perfect" album, due to yet again several tunes losing their great riffs halfway through, but this is unquestionably one of the most solid modern-day hard rock albums that you're likely to find. The songwriting and performances are absolutely astonishing, with the tunes switching from 5/4 to 7/4 to 8/4 without the listener even noticing because the melodies are so darned creative and well developed! Sexcellent production too - heavy as hell throughout but thick with added-in leads, different guitar tones and - man she just SHIMMERS, she do!

The hit shingles were "Fell On Black Days" (performed in 6/4 time), "Spoonman" (performed in 7/4 time), "The Day I Tried To Live" (performed in, ah, 15/8 time, I think?) and "Black Hole Sun" (performed in 4/4 time, the sellouts!!!). And if you weren't in the know, you'd be hard-pressed to guess that all three songs were by the same band if not for the wailing cheetah cry of David Kennedy or whoever the lead singer is. Becousin this isn't all grunge. It's heavy, diverse hard rock. There are psychedelic guitar tones and effects in some songs. Others are light-textured undistorted sorrow tracks. A few are stomach-tumblingly slow thunderballs of doom. Still others KICK YOUR ASS!!! But there's not a bad song on here. Maybe the sole punk rock tune "Kickstand" and the odd acoustic experimental track "Half" could've used a bit more (note to self: add intelligent-sounding synonym for "development" here before you send the review to Rich Bunnell for posting), but that's not much complainin' on an album with this much to enjoy. Lovers of thick-bassed groovy tunes UNTIE!

Reader Comments

Caleb462@cs.com
Agreed. The melodies are really great, Cornell's singing is great, although you're right it's not perfect.

dgig@nirvanaclub.com (Simon Taylor)
The Lead singer is called "Chris Cornell" and the album is great, as you say, a outstanding modern day rock album. Damn Damn Damn fine album indeed.

jamshidi@purdue.edu
Hey did you hear black hole sun on the radio? of course! they play it every second! Despite the fact that a few of the songs on here became big hits and were played 5 bazillion times on every radio station, it still remains a great album to listen to. Very few songs on here aren't pure gold. I'm thinking towards the end after kickstand, but even most of those songs are pretty good. But 'Fell on Black Days,' 'The Day i Tried to live', 'Black hole Sun', 'spoonman'....all radio hits, and all excellent songs. If you ask me, more albums like this should see radio time, cause there's so many albums out there that are way better than this,(not to dis this album, i like it a lot) and never see the light of day. But anyway, back to soundgarden. Kim Thayil pulls some great solos in here too, Black Hole Sun comes to mind. Actually, i've been playing guitar for 5 years now, and the solos aren't quite as impressive as they used to be, but they go great with the songs, and Thayil uses them well i think. This one gets the 10, oh yes indeed

[e-mail not given] (SLUDGEYGROOVESOUNDGARDENGRUNGEMASTER)
10/10

This is a very damn near perfect album. It just grows and grows on you until it just seeps into your brain and takes control. I still cant believe the first time i heard it i only liked fell on black days! What a dumbass i mustve been all those years ago.

I think all the elements that make soundgarden a great band all merge together on this record making it their defining moment, Chris Cornells amazing voice of deep dark morbid low notes that rise to skull shaking screams of pure bluesy feeling comes only second to Mike Patton (Faith No More), Kim Thayils crazy ass wah-wah solos and amazing guitar tones, Ben shepheards fucking cool drumming, and the bass guys erm, sludgey fucking groovey bass riffs. And thats what it's all about - Soundgarden have mastered the art of catching one big mother of a beautiful sludgey groove that melts my soul, and keep it going throughout the song and theres loadsa them on here.

With songs like, Drown Me, Fell on Black Days, Mailman, Superunkown, Limo Wreck, 4th of July, Fresh Tendrils and in my opinion probably the best soundgarden song- LIKE SUICIDE. Yes, it is beatiful and mellow but rocks like a monkey at the same time. Also the guitar at the end just takes it to another level. And the lyrics, awww man.

Anyway, i cannot stress enough how fucking amazing this album is. Altho i dont know what the fuss about The day i tried to live is all about, thats one of themost boring songs theyve done. And they coulda done to get rid of Half, and kick stand, but that dont matter cos all the other songs are just so gooooooood.

This is a very good uplifting album for when your down, cos chris cornell sounds more on the verge of suicide than you could ever be, and the sludgey grooves and beautiful guitars behind him make you feel good to be alive.

Get it you stupid bastard. And if you dont like it first time, listen to it another 10,000!!!!!

danzig9@hotmail.com (Daniel Lawrence)
Just like Corrosion of Conformity's Deliverance, Danzig's 4lp, and Weezer's self titled debut, Superunknown has special meaning for me. This was one of the first CDs I ever bought. I was in seventh grade and I've listened to this record so many damn times I can't remember. I can't say much about it other than it's great. The record has a very united and thematic feel to it in some way. Just the pictures in the lyrics book brings back the memories of those days. Before I get all sentimental and go listen to Pornography by the Cure to wallow in my lost youth, I do recommend this album for anyone. It's consistent as hell with great variety. 10

blppt@hotmail.com (Pat D.)
Ummmm, i just thought i'd point out to that sludgy soundgarden guy that Matt Cameron is the drummer, not Ben Shepard the bassist. And a damn fine drummer he is too.

Now, i ask everybody to take it easy on me when you all swarm over to my reviews to point out all my mistakes. ;-)

By the way, very good album, but i wouldnt give it a 10. And i LOVE the relentlessly morbid and heavy "Head Down". Maybe an 8? I du

Jcjh20@aol.com
Great record. Classic songs all over this one. I'll agree with the 10. "Head Down" and "Like Suicide" are beautiful in that loud way, and i love "Half" in some weird way. Such an unusual song. And of course "Black Hole Sun". Overplayed but still a classic song.

Muggwort@aol.com
superunknown makes us all ask an important question, "Why do we need an alternative cock rock band?" i will admit that I do like black hole sun, but to me the rest of the album sucks.

4/10

uglytruth@hotmail.com (Hossein Nayebagha)
The boyz didn't have anything more to do with the heavy style,so after Badmotorfinger they obviously had to change direction..or prehaps follow up on the direction that was guided by it. And so they ended up writing one of the best rock albums ever. So much diversity and so much melody that it should get rid of all the bands metalheads. It starts off with a tune that is pure hardrock, but reduced to less than four minutes because there was no longer any need for keep pounding for six minutes them bottom heavy as hell riff. It follows by a great melodic rock tune..the outro is beautiful and psychedelic. After a moody come another...well moody one..which is heavy as fuck, and has that great mellotron part that makes it all hypnotic. the title track is so spacy..."Head Down" is gloomy,"Limo Wreck" reminds of the old days but with cool experimental guitar melodies and tones apart from pretty much everything being better regarding the general performance of the players. After a track that doesn't really stand out comes the punk tune that really isn't a punk tune because it's not ugly enough. "Fresh Tendrils" is amazing with it's heartache-beauty finish,"4th of July" is grungy metal as fuck, "Half" is strange..and it ends up with something of a highlight in a lovely balad that turns into arena rock for alternative rock fans who still really dig black sabbath. 10/10

mnj4bz@sympatico.ca (Mike Forbes)
I liked Badmotorfinger better but this was a damn fine album as well. Spoonman, Black Hole Sun... damn fine shit. I'd give it an 8.

boba1@shaw.ca (Scott Love)
Muggwort is a piece of shit.

This was also one of the first albums I bought (my collection has grown by probably 800 or so pieces now, and I got this album when I was like 9!) Anyway, that has little to no effect on my actual thoughts on this album (besides sentimental value) Cornell is one of the best vocalists in modern music, period - sort of a modern day Robert Plant, if you will. Kimmy be bustin' out the solos like the true funk daddy he is (and that nasty, nasty guitar tone - nasty!) Matt Cameron is the modern day Neil Peart (no fucking joke...listen to the mans hits...precise? YES!) and while Ben Sheppard is nothing to shake a stick at he's still a pretty dern good bassist. Insane melodies, texture, time signatures and all that other fancy music speak. This is a damn fine album, and I think there's been very few records since that manage to top it in pure listenability alone.

NMcpherson@fac.unc.edu (Norman McPherson)
Hadn't heard this one in awhile. I always liked Chris Connell using the word "motherfucker" in "Ty Cobb"-an eight.

Fltrgrl@aol.com (Marilyn Maki, NYC)
I'd love to hear one of these macho macho men explain what "Kickstand" is about. Can't spin it two ways? The album is my favorite one. But saying Chris' voice is second only to Mike Patton? Pulllleeeeeeeeeze. I do enjoy your reviews full of tongue in cheek comments not too many people seem to get. This is the first time I've visited this site. I like it!

jesse_adam_g@hotmail.com (Jesse Griggs)
I love this album. It's my all time faveourite along with Jeff Buckleys 'Grace'.

This album will always be special to me because it's what inspired me to take up the drums. Matt Cameron kicks so much ass on this record!!!! Have you heard Spoonman lately? Now that is some kick ass (jungle sounding)drumming.

adrita@bigpond.net.au (Adrian, Chef, Australia)
"Kickstand"! I first heard/saw this clip on an old game consol, (3DO). It was part of a bunch of really “Kewl Tunes” on game known as “ROAD-RASH”. There were other greats, such as “JESSIE” by PAW, “DUEL” by SWERVE DRIVER, just to name a few.

Anyway, I digress, that particular track made me rush-out and buy “SUPER UNKNOWN”, & I say this is one great album, I thought at first , that it was a little weird, but the more I played it, the more it grew on me. I play this CD at least once a week now on my car stereo, on my way to work, as my wife thinks it’s just noise, but I freakin’ luv it!

briantheisen84@yahoo.com
Another deserved classic-you can even forget that Black Hole Sun and Spoonman is on it! For some reason, the title track might be my alltime favorite Soundgarden song-I love those notes Cornell holds, plus it sounds oddly triumphant even though "they steal your mind and then they steal your soul"-reminds me of the ending to Terry Gilliam's Brazil. Then it goes into Head Down, which sounds like a string quartet gone wrong. Then there's the cult favorite of the album 4th Of July (I know plenty of people who hate the band but love this song) and the excellent opener Let Me Drown (love the chorus!) and closer (and rival for my favorite song) Like Suicide. Very harrowing, with geat performance and words by Cornell (there's also an unplugged version that's quite good) and I like how it keeps building up to the "I feel for you" bridge, to the explosive solo, and the creepy spoken ending. I know I said earlier that I don't get the Zep comparisons to 'Garden, but Like Suicide is very much similar to Stairway to Heaven (although when the guitar kicks in at the beginning, it reminds me of Ennio Morricone for some reason), yet it isn't a cheesy power ballad with heavy ending that most imitators would have tried to go for.

tomplotkin@sbcglobal.net
They were the band of the '90's, and no-one seemed aware of it at the time; like New Order, they took a degraded genre and through their craftsmanship and a creative voice that was impervious to what was going on around them, showed they were in it for the long haul. Then they broke up and I have yet to hear better. This is probably the most recent rock record I have any use for other than resting my testes on when they're purple, tired, swollen, burning and heavy. But I was born in 1964, so this is an old geezer talking. The arena metal punk fusion promised by Black Flag in '83 ('82 if you count the bootleg demos) finally reached glorious fruition and a mass audience with these guys. And yet their punky brethren (Nirvana) and their 'mersh brethren (Pearl Jam) somehow put them in the shade; now we know the obvious, they were not just the first to emerge from that scene (first to record, first to sign to a major label), they were the best.

David
Mark,

Just wanted to shoot you an email re: Soundgarden... Someone probably pointed this out in the comments of the "Superunknown" review, but I figured I'd skip reading that drivel and just send this to you... "Spoonman" just isn't in 7/4. There's that one riff that lasts 14 beats, but I think the better way to listen to that is (8+6)/4, or 14/4. The rest of the song is in 4/4, and I think part of that drum part at the end is in 6/4. The 14/4 riff doesn't sound like 7 to me since the riff would then tie from one measure into the next, which seems strange. Just my $0.02.

phrakturedelbows
As noted, hard rock albums this long and this consistent are hard 2 find. A bit overproduced but that ain't nothing 2 whine about (unless of course u're me). Every fan of hard rock oughta cop a copy of this baby. Classic. 10/10...

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Down On The Upside - A&M 1996.
Rating = 8

A rock music album! Not nearly as diverse as the last one or heavy as the two before it, Down On The Puptent sounds more like a particularly creative Pearl Jam album than a Soundgarden album. The guitar tones are a lot lighter and Rolling Stones-esque than before, and some of the riffs (especially the punkier ones) are ridiculously Pumpy for a band that was previously so Master Of Realityy. Don't bitch though - there's stukk tons of awesome soaring melodies that you won't be able to get out of your head - particularly the poppy smash hit "Burden In My Hand" and astonishing album opener "Pretty Noose" (one of my alltime favorite ever Groundsardine song, though admittedly Cornell DOES sound a bit like a Jim Henson character). "Blow Up The Outside World" is also on here, but I'm still not convinced that it's one of the better tunes present. You wants to hear youse an awesome tune, check out "Applebite" - man, that's some crazyass guitar melody! Nice bass undertones too. Or some crap.

So maybe they returned to wherefore whence they came? A post-punk Zeppelin? Just older and smarter? Could be. Who knows? Way too many critics, fans, critics of fans, fans of critics, critics of critics and fans of my tart buttwrinkle have trashed this album as a "step down" for Kim Thayil and three of his close friends. But fuck them up the smellywang! This cassette tape is really not any weaker than the previous records - it's just more "normal" and "radio-ready" than they/those. Plus it has three or four songs that are so slow and atmospheric, you don't even notice they're there until you remove your ear from your goddamned cell phone for a fucking change you piece of shit Silicon Alley poseur douchebag.

In conclusion, the band broke up and Chris Cornell put out a solo album called Maybe It's About Time I Shave Off My Stupid Goatee Thing - What Do I Think This Is, 1992?

Reader Comments

creexul@home.com (John Cable)
This band is the only grungish/alternativish band I EVER had respect for, back then, because they could put out a hit that was fun to listen to, that wasn't just riding the coattails of the Nirvana sound, or generally whiny and unlistenable. I know I can only think of one example ("Black Hole Sun" of course, duh), but it's a song that actually has rock in it, as opposed to depressive sludging that seemed to make up about 2,000% of any of that alternagrunge crap played on MTV and the trendy "pop" radio stations of the day.

amcquill@shaw.ca (Andrew McQuillan)
I swear man, you write some funny fucking reviews. This is a good example. Fuck them up the smellywang? You start to sound like Dennis Miller or somethin'. Anyways, this album is really awesome. 'Pretty Noose' was the first SG song I knew and then 'Burden' and 'Blow Up the Outside World' I always loved too. But, there are also some scorchers on here, 'Ty Cobb' standing out. Other faves are 'Tighter and Tighter', 'No Attention' (weird outro, too), 'An Unkind', 'Never Named', 'Boot Camp', 'Dusty', 'Rhinosaur', etc. Well that's most of the album. I guess that's because it's really awesome.

Jcjh20@aol.com
I like it as much as Superunknown. More diverse and experimental then that album, i think, and theres some really classic songs on here, like "Blow Up The Outside World", "Burden In My Hand", "Pretty Noose" etc. "Ty Cobb" is hilarious in its aggressive punk-rockyness, "Applebite" is brilliantly eerie and bizarre and "Never Named", "Rhinosaur", and "Dusty" are great catchy dittys. Its really a shame these guys have broken up, because it seems to me like they had the intelligence for a really amazing record, and soon. This one is a 9.

mnj4bz@sympatico.ca (Mike Forbes)
Just when you thought a band was getting into high gear they go and break up!!! I thought this was their best as far as songwriting goes. My fave is definitely Burden in My Hand. This to me is a perfect example of songwriting at its best. I also really like Pretty Noose and Blow Up the Outside World but then who didn't? I wish these guys would get back together and finish their career.

uglytruth@hotmail.com (Hossein Nayebagha)
Even though "Pretty Noose" blew me away when I first heard it, and was what made me finally decide to check out their albums, I'd be lying if I'd say it's a really great song. Fact is it bores me because it kicks ass from start to the first chorus, when it just gets less interesting.

The really great songs are "Burden In My Hand", "Ty Cobb" and possibly "Dusty". There are also songs that for the most part should be Soundgarden classics, but they don't make it all the way; "No Attention", "Overfloater" etc.

Looking back to the time when Soundgarden broke up, about three months after I bought this album, I can't believe some Rolling Stone Magazine guy somehow implied that this album is "grunge for grown ups"- this being a negative thing. It made sense to me back then, but I was 14 years old and didn't mind the kind of music that was labeled "grunge" by the media. Anyway, I think this was a good way of ending the band. 8/10.

briantheisen84@yahoo.com
It took me a while to come around to this one, but when I did it became my favorite. I don't think I'd say the same thing today, but this one has a lot more going for it than what it appears on the surface. It may seem like a sellout-a significantly less heavy retread of Superunknown, but it is very melodic, diverse and has some experimental stuff amid the poppiness. It reminds me of albums like King For A Day or Hail To Thief-really good albums that are kind done in at the first few listens due to the length and a few generic tracks that make it sound less diverse than it really is. Applebite and Overfloater are the odd ones out here, being slow and spacy-Overfloater is one of my favorites-it almost sounds like something they could have attempted on Ultramega OK. I also like the short uptempo An Unkind towards the end-nice chorus melody and Dick Dale type guitar. Tighter And Tighter is also really good-it kind points the way for Audioslave's sound (which may be a minus to some), Dusty and Switch Opens are as mellow as a stroll through the park. Not a bad way to go out, although it could have been lame. It's probably a good thing they ended it here.

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Live on I-5 - A&M 2011
Rating = 7

When renowned Audioslave vocalist/Timbaland collaborator Chris Cornell announced in early 2010 plans to reunite his first band Soundgarden, most of his fans of course responded, “Groundsardine? Who is ‘Groundsardine’?” Because his fans are fucken retarded; the guy blows.

To clear up any confusion, A&M released this live album culled from six dates on the Down on the Upside tour. The first thing you’ll notice is that Cornell’s voice is MUCH less powerful in the live setting, constantly wavering off key and cracking whenever he tries to bust into one of his trademark wails. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody who attended a late-period Soundgarden or solo Cornell show. My very own girlfriend, in fact, once witnessed a Cornell vocal performance so foul and depressing that to this day she can’t bring herself to re-listen to their records.

Cornell’s failings as a singer and human being would be much less of an issue were his voice not 4,000 times louder than the music, but it is. And as heavy as that accompaniment is, it’s also much more saturated and less tight than on record. Given these significantly mitigating factors, it’s a wonder that Live On I-5 is any good at all. Thankfully, they played a lot of great songs that tour.

The band performs five songs each from Badmotorfinger and Superunknown, four from Down on the Upside, two cover tunes, one from the Screaming Life EP, and a surprising zero each from Ultramega OK and Louder than Love. Songs as killer as “Ty Cobb,” “Jesus Christ Pose,” “Fell On Black Days” and “Spoonman” are pretty much unimpeachable, but it’s up to you whether or not you need to hear live versions of them. My guess is no, but here they are if you feel the need.

Notable moments, along with what I’d have yelled at the stage had I been there, include:

- Cornell closing “Let Me Drown” with the stage patter “It’s nice to be up here finally. Sitting around in the fucking cold all day sucked!” (“WE DIDN’T PAY TO HEAR YOU TALK, JELLO BIAFRA!”)

- Cornell performing “Head Down” without the harmony vocal, trying not to let his high register waver around the scale too much. (“LET US KNOW WHEN YOUR OTHER BALL DROPS, EUNUCH!”)

- An “Outshined” vocal performance so weak and atonal that it is horrifying to realize it must’ve been the least awful of six different performances (“ALRIGHT, WHO LET THE CAT SWALLOW THE MICROPHONE?”)

- Cornell announcing that “Rusty Cage” is “for the Man in Black” (“THIS IS WORSE THAN THE DIABETES!”)

- “Black Hole Sun” performed as a tepid guitar/vocal duet (“I DID INDEED ATTEND THIS CONCERT TO HEAR YOU PERFORM YOUR BIGGEST HIT AS A GENTLE BALLAD!”)

- Cornell singing (incorrectly) the lyrics to “Helter Skelter” over a lazy bass groove that has no relation to the song “Helter Skelter” (“THIS IS A SONG CHARLES MANSON STOLE FROM THE BEATLES… WE’RE BREAKING HIM OUT OF JAIL SO HE CAN MURDER YOU!”)

- An honestly kickass cover of “Search and Destroy” that even Cornell can’t ruin with his laidback vocals (“PLAY THAT ONE AGAIN! AND HAVE THE BASSIST SING!”)

As you can see, it’s a great CD that I intend to play over and over.

Reader Comments

phrakturedelbows
Well it ain't no Live at Leeds... Has it's uses but will only appeal 2 us fans. 6.5/10...

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Other Soundgarden Sites

*Buy your Soundgarden CDs chirpy-chirpy-CHEAP-CHEAP at this link. (NOTE: You have to click on the actual CD covers to access the cheap used cd prices. Otherwise all you get's new!)

* Matt's Soundgarden Page

Chuck Said THere's REviews Here