SOUNDGARDEN was certainly ahead of the grunge game. Although a scant few bands like Green River and U-Men are credited as being the first grungers, it is safe to say that of the most popular ones SOUNDGARDEN was far ahead of the pack when their first release SCREAMING LIFE came out in 1987. Although this is only an EP it is a great start for the band. They already had their sound pretty much in tact although Chris Cornell has a much more diverse vocal style on this album. In fact he sounds a little like Robert Plant in his vocal approach with his high pitched wails. The rest of the band has a tight yet loosy goosy jam type sound as well.
At this point the band still had Hiro Yamamoto on bass and his doomy bass lines with Cornell's Zeppelin vocals really tapped into a new hybrid metal sound hitherto not successfully executed. The six songs on this EP are all quite good and although I have been a SOUNDGARDEN fan for quite a long time, I have only recently picked up the first two EP's in the form the twofer SCREAMING LIFE / FOPP compilation. Dirty and raw, grunge yet alternative metal at this point finds SOUNDGARDEN sounding more aggressive and creative in their sound than on many of their later albums. Not a bad place to start but since everyone has probably heard the later albums first then you will probably be like me in discovering their origins after the fact. Never too late and yes do check this out. It's much better than I could have imagined.