Raw Angry Young Men
Long before the Grunge explosion, Soundgarden was slowing growing in Seattle, and recorded two CDs before their breakthough Badmotorfinger. The second of these was Louder than Love, a monstrous CD that does everything you'd want for an up and coming band. It showcases their unique style, has some great songs, and most of all captures some of that raw young energy.
Guitarist Kim Thayil still has a firm hold on the band at this point, and his feedback and lo-fi sludgy rhythm are great. Chris Cornell is already a great voice, though he's a long way from where he will eventually reach. The recordings of both are still pretty raw, with Cornell's being a bit overdrenched in reverb and Thayil's guitar lacking some of the big teeth today's recording techniques provide.
But there is no denying these songs. It's hard to think of any song that's quite matched "Big Dumb Sex" in best use of the F-bomb in a song. "Loud Love" and "Hands All Over" are classics. "Power Trip" and "Full on Kevin's Mom" were Soundgarden live show favorites back in the day.
It's interesting that on this second, indie album, the band sounds more focused than they are on some later big-label releases. This is both a strength and a drawback. The sludge gets a litte same-y by the end, but the band never loses its legitimacy. The devotion to the riff and to an underground ethos is unwavering.
Bottom Line: Some Amazing Songs, Indie recording quality, a Record of Youth