Rating:
7.4
Soundgarden - King Animal
9 November 2012


01. Been Away Too Long
02. Non-State Actor
03. By Crooked Steps
04. A Thousand Days Before
05. Blood On The Valley Floor
06. Bones Of Birds
07. Taree
08. Attrition
09. Black Saturday
10. Halfway There
11. Worse Dreams
12. Eyelid's Mouth
13. Rowing


For Soundgarden fans it has been sixteen years in between albums. And now, with King Animal, the band is back with a solid release. It's nothing groundbreaking, but it gets the job done. And it's a job well done for the only band to have all of its original golden era members together following the grunge movement and aftermath. It's good to see these guys together again.

Chris Cornell's vocals have evolved. A dirtier, raspier sound is now incorporated into the front man's repertoire. This is likely nothing new if you have been following Cornell through his Audioslave and solo periods. And while he has moved on from the soaring vocal contributions of old, he still sounds pretty damn good.

Matt Cameron's drum sound and playing are both fantastic as usual. His drums always cut through cleanly on Soundgarden records, and his style is very tasteful. Kim Thayil's riffs and leads are still creative as hell and Ben Shepherd does a righteous job on bass.

Song contributions come from everyone and everywhere, including some horn arrangements that I have yet to hear. The album includes some upbeat tunes, such as "Rowing" and "Black Saturday". There are riff-heavy numbers, such as "By Crooked Steps" and "Eyelid's Mouth". "Bones of Birds" lyrically for me calls to mind a scene from Birdman of Alcatraz, where Burt Lancaster, while alone in his jail cell, encourages a sparrow that made its way into his cell to start a family and "find out who you are" out in the world where "the air breathes easy". But the highlight of the album is "A Thousand Days Before" which includes a vintage riff by Kim that could have been plucked straight from Superunknown. In fact, the whole song sounds like a Superunknown lost track, including the vocals. And just to keep the lyrics from getting misconstrued in any way, they are simply beautiful on this song. It's the stand alone classic of this album.

Although this album doesn't do anything truly magnificent, aside from "A Thousand Days Before", it's truly a pleasure to hear this band again. Hopefully, for this Soundgarden fan, there is more to come in the future.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 8


Band profile: Soundgarden
Album: King Animal


 


written by Nosurper | 23.11.2012



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Apothecary - 23.11.2012 at 20:45  
Nice review, I was planning on staying away from this out of an inherent fear of it not matching up to their classic material, but you've convinced me to at least give it a peek.
Dark Forever - 23.11.2012 at 20:59  
"It's nothing groundbreaking, but it gets the job done."

I agree with most of what you say in the review, but I don't think they "got the job done". I found the album very safe and boring in some parts, I was not expecting a masterpiece, but at least something more intreresting, like the return album of Alice In Chains.
Nosurper - 23.11.2012 at 23:00  
Written by Dark Forever on 23.11.2012 at 20:59

"It's nothing groundbreaking, but it gets the job done."

I agree with most of what you say in the review, but I don't think they "got the job done". I found the album very safe and boring in some parts, I was not expecting a masterpiece, but at least something more intreresting, like the return album of Alice In Chains.


Undoubtedly it was not as heavy as Alice in Chains return album was. And undoubtedly being heavy does not coincidently make an album more interesting. Not suggesting that you were simply looking for something heavier, but that's where the first obvious difference is. This album was quite passive when compared to their back catalog for sure. Sonically, everything is dialed back and far less aggressive. But most of the lyrics make the music more engaging, as is the case with Soundgarden; at least in my opinion. I didn't suffer from any boredom while listening to this album. Safe though?
Dark Forever - 24.11.2012 at 00:23  
Written by Nosurper on 23.11.2012 at 23:00

Written by Dark Forever on 23.11.2012 at 20:59

"It's nothing groundbreaking, but it gets the job done."

I agree with most of what you say in the review, but I don't think they "got the job done". I found the album very safe and boring in some parts, I was not expecting a masterpiece, but at least something more intreresting, like the return album of Alice In Chains.


Undoubtedly it was not as heavy as Alice in Chains return album was. And undoubtedly being heavy does not coincidently make an album more interesting. Not suggesting that you were simply looking for something heavier, but that's where the first obvious difference is. This album was quite passive when compared to their back catalog for sure. Sonically, everything is dialed back and far less aggressive. But most of the lyrics make the music more engaging, as is the case with Soundgarden; at least in my opinion. I didn't suffer from any boredom while listening to this album. Safe though?


It has nothing to do with being heavier or not, I'm fine with Soundgarden's sound. I just think it lacks some more inspired moments. Not a bad album though, I still gave it a 7.
Ace Frawley - 24.11.2012 at 01:36  
Glad you mentioned Matt Cameron's drum sound cutting through - I've always noticed that on previous Soundgarden records as well. I haven't given this one a listen, and may not, but I'll at least check out the track you mentioned as the standout song "A Thousand Days Before".
Nosurper - 24.11.2012 at 01:45  
Written by Ace Frawley on 24.11.2012 at 01:36

Glad you mentioned Matt Cameron's drum sound cutting through - I've always noticed that on previous Soundgarden records as well. I haven't given this one a listen, and may not, but I'll at least check out the track you mentioned as the standout song "A Thousand Days Before".


Definetly, its very good
AgentMindcrime - 28.11.2012 at 08:17  
This new album makes me incredibly happy. It's good to see the "Seattle Kings" finally get back together and release some new, and very good material. My standout favorites are: "Blood on the Valley Floor", "A Thousand Days Before", and "Been Away Too Long." Hopefully we'll see more out of these guys. As the song says, they've been away for much too long.

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