Mercury | 12.11.12
2012 has been a big year for the recently reunited Soundgarden. After playing their first UK shows in over 15 years at the Download and Hard Rock Calling festivals this Summer and recording ‘Live To Rise’ for Marvel’s Avengers Assemble in April, the Seattle grunge icons, who rose to fame alongside bands such as Nirvana and Pearl Jam in the early 90’s, have released King Animal, their first studio album since 1996’s Down On The Upside.
Lead single ‘Been Away Too Long’ opens the album, an up-tempo hard rocker similar in style to tracks such as ‘Rusty Cage’. From the Superunkown-esque unorthodox time signatures of ‘By Crooked Steps’ to the semi-acoustic ‘Halfway There’, the band explore all different areas of their sound. Lead singer Chris Cornell (also of Casino Royale theme tune ‘You Know My Name’ fame) sounds in great form, his Robert Plant-influenced vocals providing an effective partnership with Kim Thayil’s guitar playing, which recalls After the Goldrush-era Neil Young one minute and Paranoid-era Black Sabbath the next. King Animal sounds a lot more natural than ‘Live to Rise’ or Cornell’s more recent solo work and despite being more solid than spectacular, this should be the album that Soundgarden fans have been waiting for for over a decade.