Soundgarden - King Animal review
|Release date:||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
09. Black Saturday
10. Halfway There
11. Worse Dreams
12. Eyelid's Mouth
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.
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