SOUNDGARDEN

Alternative Metal / Heavy Alternative Rock • United States
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Soundgarden are an American grunge/alternative metal band formed in Seattle, Washington in 1984 by singer and rhythm guitarist Chris Cornell, lead guitarist Kim Thayil, and bassist Hiro Yamamoto. Matt Cameron became the band's full-time drummer in 1986, while bassist Ben Shepherd became a permanent replacement for Yamamoto in 1990. Soundgarden were one of the seminal bands in the creation of grunge, a style of alternative rock that developed in Seattle, and was one of a number of grunge bands signed to the record label Sub Pop. Soundgarden were the first grunge band to sign to a major label (A&M Records, in 1988), though the band did not achieve commercial success until they popularized the genre in the early 1990s with Seattle contemporaries Nirvana, Alice in Chains, and Pearl Jam. Soundgarden achieved their, biggest success with the 1994 album Superunknown, which debuted at number one on the Billboard charts and yielded read more...
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Down On The UpsideDown On The Upside
A&M 1996
$5.00
$0.89 (used)
SuperunknownSuperunknown
Remastered
A&M 2014
$5.43
$8.99 (used)
SuperunknownSuperunknown
A&M 2014
$24.63
$28.37 (used)
Soundgarden - BadmotorfingerSoundgarden - Badmotorfinger
A&M 1991
$3.93
$1.50 (used)
Badmotorfinger [2 LP]Badmotorfinger [2 LP]
A&M 2016
$26.96
$14.83 (used)
A-SidesA-Sides
A&M 1997
$8.69
$3.51 (used)
Ultramega OkUltramega Ok
Sub Pop Records 2017
$9.97
$5.01 (used)
King AnimalKing Animal
Extra tracks · Deluxe Edition
Republic 2012
$11.05
$5.02 (used)
Louder Than LoveLouder Than Love
A&M 1989
$3.92
$2.49 (used)
Echo Of Miles: The OriginalsEcho Of Miles: The Originals
Single
Geffen 2014
$6.74
$4.05 (used)
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4 Compact Disc; Filter; Type O Negative, Soundgarden; Godsmack 4 Compact Disc; Filter; Type O Negative, Soundgarden; Godsmack USD $9.00 (0 bids)
1h 39m
SOUNDGARDEN SUPERUNKNOWN 2-LP SEALED Limited Edition Colored Dbl Vinyl OG 1994 SOUNDGARDEN SUPERUNKNOWN 2-LP SEALED Limited Edition Colored Dbl Vinyl OG 1994 USD $299.95 (0 bids)
2h 1m
Soundgarden Louder Than Love LP Promotional Issue. Red Vinyl. Soundgarden Louder Than Love LP Promotional Issue. Red Vinyl. USD $125.00 (0 bids)
2h 29m
Songs From the Superunknown [Maxi Single] by Soundgarden (CD, Nov-1995, A Songs From the Superunknown [Maxi Single] by Soundgarden (CD, Nov-1995, A USD $2.99 (0 bids)
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7h
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Soundgarden - A-Sides (1997) Soundgarden - A-Sides (1997) USD $8.41 Buy It Now 12h
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19h
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SOUNDGARDEN – Lot Of 6 CD incl. Promo - 1 SOUNDGARDEN – Lot Of 6 CD incl. Promo - 1 USD $30.00 (0 bids)
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20h
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20h
PUDDLE OF MUDD - COME CLEAN (CD 2002) Alice In Chains/Soundgarden/Nickelback PUDDLE OF MUDD - COME CLEAN (CD 2002) Alice In Chains/Soundgarden/Nickelback USD $1.39 (0 bids)
20h
SOUNDGARDEN Fell On Black Days 7 SOUNDGARDEN Fell On Black Days 7" VINYL UK A&M 1995 3 Track Pic Disc B/W Kyle USD $19.83 Buy It Now 20h
SOUNDGARDEN Outshined 7 SOUNDGARDEN Outshined 7" VINYL UK A&M 1992 Limited Edition Pic Disc With USD $19.83 Buy It Now 20h
Soundgarden A SIDES 2LP colour Vinyl RSD2018 New!! Soundgarden A SIDES 2LP colour Vinyl RSD2018 New!! USD $1.39 (2 bids)
20h
SOUNDGARDEN - burden in my hand CD single 1996 SOUNDGARDEN - burden in my hand CD single 1996 USD $2.51 Buy It Now 21h
Chris Cornell Euphoria Mourning CD Soundgarden Audioslave Solo Debut Morning NEW Chris Cornell Euphoria Mourning CD Soundgarden Audioslave Solo Debut Morning NEW USD $11.59 Buy It Now 22h
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22h
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22h
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Telephantasm: A Retrospective [Super Deluxe Version] by Soundgarden (Ltd Ed) Telephantasm: A Retrospective [Super Deluxe Version] by Soundgarden (Ltd Ed) USD $119.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Soundgarden Songs From Superunknown PROMO CD Soundgarden Songs From Superunknown PROMO CD USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Alice In Chains - SAP CD 1st US press jerry cantrell tad soundgarden mudhoney Alice In Chains - SAP CD 1st US press jerry cantrell tad soundgarden mudhoney USD $2.49 Buy It Now 1 day
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Soundgarden: Superunknown; A&M; 1994 Soundgarden: Superunknown; A&M; 1994 USD $1.99 (0 bids)
1 day
Singles Soundtrack CASSETTE TAPE soundgarden pearl jam alice in chains mudhoney Singles Soundtrack CASSETTE TAPE soundgarden pearl jam alice in chains mudhoney USD $7.99 Buy It Now 1 day
Soundgarden Screaming Life 2xLP SEALED LOSER EDITION Color Vinyl Sub Pop Soundgarden Screaming Life 2xLP SEALED LOSER EDITION Color Vinyl Sub Pop USD $79.96 Buy It Now 1 day
Alice In Chains - I Stay Away CD US promo jerry cantrell soundgarden acid bath Alice In Chains - I Stay Away CD US promo jerry cantrell soundgarden acid bath USD $9.99 Buy It Now 1 day
SOUNDGARDEN / BLACK HOLE SUN B/W SPOONMAN / 45 RPM / 1994 SOUNDGARDEN / BLACK HOLE SUN B/W SPOONMAN / 45 RPM / 1994 USD $9.99 (0 bids)
1 day
Soundgarden Superunknown 1994 Original Press Promo On Blue Vinyl A Soundgarden Superunknown 1994 Original Press Promo On Blue Vinyl A USD $42.00 (14 bids)
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SOUNDGARDEN - A-Sides (CD/1997) A&M Records / 17 Tracks / NM- SOUNDGARDEN - A-Sides (CD/1997) A&M Records / 17 Tracks / NM- USD $0.99 (0 bids)
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SOUNDGARDEN Discography

SOUNDGARDEN albums / top albums

SOUNDGARDEN Ultramega OK album cover 3.42 | 17 ratings
Ultramega OK
Alternative Metal 1988
SOUNDGARDEN Louder Than Love album cover 3.80 | 21 ratings
Louder Than Love
Alternative Metal 1989
SOUNDGARDEN Badmotorfinger album cover 4.16 | 59 ratings
Badmotorfinger
Alternative Metal 1991
SOUNDGARDEN Superunknown album cover 4.11 | 67 ratings
Superunknown
Heavy Alternative Rock 1994
SOUNDGARDEN Down On The Upside album cover 3.66 | 26 ratings
Down On The Upside
Heavy Alternative Rock 1996
SOUNDGARDEN King Animal album cover 3.48 | 15 ratings
King Animal
Heavy Alternative Rock 2012

SOUNDGARDEN EPs & splits

SOUNDGARDEN Deep Six album cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
Deep Six
Alternative Metal 1986
SOUNDGARDEN Screaming Life album cover 3.65 | 6 ratings
Screaming Life
Alternative Metal 1987
SOUNDGARDEN Fopp album cover 2.61 | 5 ratings
Fopp
Alternative Metal 1988
SOUNDGARDEN Loudest Love album cover 3.25 | 2 ratings
Loudest Love
Alternative Metal 1990
SOUNDGARDEN SOMMS album cover 3.50 | 2 ratings
SOMMS
Alternative Metal 1992
SOUNDGARDEN Songs From The Superunknown album cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
Songs From The Superunknown
Heavy Alternative Rock 1995
SOUNDGARDEN Before The Doors: Live On I-5 album cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
Before The Doors: Live On I-5
Alternative Metal 2011
SOUNDGARDEN King Animal Demos album cover 2.50 | 1 ratings
King Animal Demos
Heavy Alternative Rock 2013
SOUNDGARDEN Satanoscillatemymetallicsonatas album cover 4.50 | 1 ratings
Satanoscillatemymetallicsonatas
Alternative Metal 2016

SOUNDGARDEN live albums

SOUNDGARDEN Louder Than Live album cover 4.67 | 2 ratings
Louder Than Live
Alternative Metal 1990
SOUNDGARDEN Live On I-5 album cover 2.88 | 4 ratings
Live On I-5
Alternative Metal 2011

SOUNDGARDEN demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

SOUNDGARDEN re-issues & compilations

SOUNDGARDEN Screaming Life / Fopp album cover 3.64 | 7 ratings
Screaming Life / Fopp
Alternative Metal 1990
SOUNDGARDEN A-Sides album cover 4.25 | 2 ratings
A-Sides
Alternative Metal 1997
SOUNDGARDEN Telephantasm album cover 3.75 | 6 ratings
Telephantasm
Alternative Metal 2010
SOUNDGARDEN Echo of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across the Path - Originals album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Echo of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across the Path - Originals
Alternative Metal 2014
SOUNDGARDEN Echo of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across the Path - Covers album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Echo of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across the Path - Covers
Alternative Metal 2014
SOUNDGARDEN Echo of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across the Path - Oddities album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Echo of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across the Path - Oddities
Alternative Metal 2014

SOUNDGARDEN singles (24)

.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Hunted Down
Alternative Metal 1987
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Loud Love
Alternative Metal 1989
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Flower
Alternative Metal 1989
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Hands All Over
Alternative Metal 1990
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Room A Thousand Years Wide
Alternative Metal 1990
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Outshined
Alternative Metal 1991
.. Album Cover
3.50 | 2 ratings
Jesus Christ Pose
Alternative Metal 1991
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Rusty Cage
Alternative Metal 1992
.. Album Cover
3.50 | 3 ratings
Spoonman
Heavy Alternative Rock 1994
.. Album Cover
2.75 | 2 ratings
The Day I Tried To Live
Heavy Alternative Rock 1994
.. Album Cover
2.75 | 2 ratings
My Wave
Heavy Alternative Rock 1994
.. Album Cover
3.83 | 3 ratings
Black Hole Sun
Heavy Alternative Rock 1994
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Cold Bitch
Heavy Alternative Rock 1994
.. Album Cover
3.00 | 2 ratings
Fell On Black Days
Heavy Alternative Rock 1995
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Pretty Noose
Heavy Alternative Rock 1996
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Blow Up The Outside World
Heavy Alternative Rock 1996
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Burden In My Hand
Heavy Alternative Rock 1996
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Ty Cobb
Heavy Alternative Rock 1997
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Bleed Together
Alternative Metal 1997
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Black Rain
Alternative Metal 2010
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
The Telephantasm
Heavy Alternative Rock 2010
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Live To Rise
Heavy Alternative Rock 2012
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
Been Away Too Long
Heavy Alternative Rock 2012
.. Album Cover
2.00 | 1 ratings
By Crooked Steps
Heavy Alternative Rock 2013

SOUNDGARDEN movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

.. Album Cover
4.00 | 2 ratings
Louder Than Live
Alternative Metal 1990
.. Album Cover
0.00 | 0 ratings
Motorvision
Alternative Metal 1992
.. Album Cover
4.50 | 1 ratings
Telephantasm
Alternative Metal 2010

SOUNDGARDEN Reviews

SOUNDGARDEN Louder Than Live

Live album · 1990 · Alternative Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Unitron
What's the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a fantastic live album. Judas Priest's Unleashed in the East? Metallica's Live Shit? AC/DC's If You Want Blood? Gentle Giant's Playing the Fool? Daft Punk's Alive 2007? Whatever it is, there's plenty to choose from. While live albums can sometimes suffer from bootleg quality productions, there is a good handful of fantastic live albums that perfectly capture a band at their peak and in a sense brings you to the concert displayed on said album. An unfortunately forgotten live album that ranks as one of the best is Soundgarden's Louder Than Live. This was probably due to only being released on VHS and as a promotional CD/cassette/vinyl in 1990 and never being officially re-released since.

Now, this is a live performance. Like all the best live albums, it shows the band at their very best. Soundgarden is in their prime here, and deliver a crushing balls-to-the-wall concert that would scare off anyone who's too used to modern over-polished "extreme" metal. This is about as much energy as you can get without being at the concert yourself. Plus this is the only Soundgarden release where you can hear Jason Everman on bass.

With a setlist consisting mostly songs from the masterpiece that is Louder Than Love, the most doom metal song Soundgarden's ever done, one of the band's earliest songs, and a couple comedic covers, you know you're in a for a treat. It opens up with said doom metal song, the gargantuan behemoth that is "Beyond the Wheel". Like the original studio version, it's haunting and blisteringly heavy. Here though, it's extended to a much more fitting 7 minutes and you can hear it in all of it's glory. Unlike the garage quality of the debut, this has some extra grit in the riffs and Cornell has a bit more of a snarl.

As if "Gun" wasn't a massive beast of a song before, Louder Than Live has the song sounding like it's just going to grab you by the throat and throw you around in the pit until you're on your way to the hospital. You can hear the feedback, the amps sound like they're going to blow any minute, and it shows that Cornell was just as much of a screaming maniac on the stage as in the studio. The discordant "I Awake" sounds even more out of a horror film, and "Big Dumb Sex" opens with some hilarious stage banter. It all closes with covers of Spinal Tap's "Big Bottom" and Cheech and Chong's "Earache My Eye". "Big Bottom" works in more ways than one, with Soundgarden having such a heavy bottom end. "Earache My Eye" turns into a heavy grungy biter of a track with total manic screaming and it's a real awesome rendition.

To me these are the best kinds of live albums, the ones that display a band in all of their raw and unbridled rage and musical intensity. It serves as a huge influence for budding musicians like myself, and pushes the drive to get out on a stage and give it your all even more. Watching the VHS brings the whole experience home even more, watching everyone swirl around in the mosh pits and bang their heads like madmen just as the band does themselves. If you can find it, treat yourself to one of the best live albums/videos the metal world has to offer.

https://thewickednest.blogspot.com/2018/04/soundgarden-louder-than-live-review.html

SOUNDGARDEN Louder Than Love

Album · 1989 · Alternative Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Unitron
"Hands all over the inland forest. In a striking motion trees fall down like, dying soldiers."

Only a year after the band's phenomenal debut, Soundgarden came out with one of the greatest yet sadly underrated metal albums of all time. Louder Than Love, and that's what it is. Slamming hammers of sludgy headbanging riffage and rhythm rain down upon the listener like an erupting volcano, while Chris Cornell's screams have the forcefulness of a primal battle cry. This album is louder and heavier than pretty much anything else, and for me represents everything that is beautiful about heavy metal.

Where to start with this masterpiece? From beginning to end, Soundgarden gives the middle finger to weak moments and anything that isn't heavy. I guess "Hands All Over" is a good place to begin rambling about my love for this album. If you thought all environmental messages in music had to be 60's hippie sunshine pop, you're just wrong. This song will slam your face against the pavement with a chunky bass riff and guitar groove, massive and thunderous drums, and Cornell's primal screams of heartfelt fury. I've always loved Cornell's uses of metaphors with lines such as "turning eagles, into vultures" and the aforementioned one at the beginning of the review. This is easily the best environmental metal song you'll find (Though Testament's "Greenhouse Effect" from the same year is great too).

Louder Than Love has a perfect balance between heavy as fuck 70's-sounding grungy doom metal, massive slabs of sludge, and headbanging 80's metal. "Gun" is a perfect mix of sounds, and may be the best on the album. The lumbering drums that open up the track prepare you for the face-melting riffing that wipes the floor with any other song of its kind. The main riff is brooding, punishing, and wants nothing but to kick the listener to the floor in the mosh pit. It slowly picks up speed, and has one of the best progression flows I've heard in any song. The peak speed of the song occurs after Cornell's spit of "fuck 'em up", and is followed up with what should be known as one of the best guitar solos of all time where Kim Thayil just shreds in a swirling mass while Cornell's screams fade into the background. The song slows back down to the pure doom plodding for the end, with some agonized screams and finally one more bellow of "I've got an idea, of something we can do with a gun".

For the old school doom metal fans, Soundgarden channels Black Sabbath here better than any other band out there. Take a listen to a song like "Power Trip", and Kim Thayil is the one who really brought back the Tony Iommi riff back into metal, while blending it into his own unique guitar sound. His solos wail and screech, and he and Cornell deliver bludgeoning riff after riff. "Loud Love" should be more known as an ultimate headbanging anthem, with a colossal hook that is just instant with getting the head moving. "Get on the Snake" is another one that is just a massive stomp. The beast of an opener, "Ugly Truth", "Uncovered", and the beast of a closer "Big Dumb Sex" don't have any shortage of gargantuan hooks either.

The first three Soundgarden albums show every reason why Chris Cornell is probably my all time favorite vocalist. This album in particular, he rarely turns down the siren. Almost every song has him screaming at high levels of high energy, putting tears in my eye as I attempt to scream along to the red-faced and monstrous performances. When he's not unleashing his battle cry, he's either complimenting a slow doom crawl with stoner bellowing or snarling and spitting in "No Wrong, No Right". Just the delivery of the last lines in that song, 'No wrong, no right. Guilt admission, you've been bitten". It's so biting and somehow beautiful at the same time.

Of course, everyone contributes equally to this beast of an album, and the rhythm section is a huge part in the heaviness just like the rest. I already mentioned it when describing "Hands All Over", but Hiro Yamamoto's bass is almost always contributing to a massive groove, especially on that colossus of a song. When not grooving, it's a rapid thumping spitfire like on "Full on Kevin's Mom", or helping carry a haunting atmosphere like with "No Wrong, No Right". Matt Cameron is the first thing you hear on the album, as he opens up "Ugly Truth", right up with a drum fill. His performance is explosive and thunderous, and carries some real weight. Whether it be the crashing cymbals that open up "Gun", the rolls that open up "No Wrong, No Right", or the huge stomp that commands the whole album, he's got it.

Louder Than Love covers everything lyrically. From reflective, to blunt, to moody, its got everything. While hair bands play around with innuendo, Soundgarden doesn't have time for that in a song like "Big Dumb Sex". They just out right scream it, and there's no reason for questions. The speed metal-paced "Full on Kevin's Mom" gets beyond to the point, and flies right into the skin with heat-seeking bass and guitar runs. On the opposite end, you have the discordant and dissonant dirges of "I Awake" and "No Wrong, No Right".

While the debut had a pretty lo-fi sounding production, Louder Than Love has an absolutely massive sound that really makes it "louder than love". I don't think I've heard a sound quite like it, as it melds the warm and raw sound of 70's metal albums with the louder and larger sound of the 80's. I love the debut, but the band sounds just completely focused here and just wanting to deliver a crushing blow to the skull or bite into the skin on this album.

As you can probably tell with how long and detailed this review is, this is one of my all time favorite albums, probably in my top 10. Along with the next album, this is among what I would call a perfect masterpiece and one of the greatest things ever recorded. While sadly this one goes pretty underrated and somewhat forgotten, this is an album that anyone looking for a crushing, loud, and sludgy behemoth of an album should listen to. It's a true one of a kind release, and shows a band at their most raw and angry. In the world of heavy metal, there's nothing better. Thayil described the band's sound as "zen metal", and if beautiful heavy metal that's louder than love is how you enter a state of zen, sign me up.

https://thewickednest.blogspot.com/2018/04/soundgarden-louder-than-love-review.html

SOUNDGARDEN Superunknown

Album · 1994 · Heavy Alternative Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Necrotica
The death of Chris Cornell was a tragedy for many rock fans across the globe, but in my case, it was an especially devastating blow to the gut. On the day of his passing, nostalgic images suddenly rushed back to my mind. I recalled my time as a young teen back in California playing the classic Superunknown over and over again on the car stereo. Those hazy summers were the perfect time to listen to some sentimental alternative rock records, but Superunknown was truly unlike anything I’d heard before (or since). Suddenly, the sludgy and grimy world of grunge was colorful and expansive. Aggression married grandiosity, and the moments of punk rock fury were paired with moments you swear you’d hear as a funeral dirge. Then psychedelia, stoner metal, 70s classic rock, and even some progressive rock were piled on as icing on the cake. And now with Cornell’s suicide fresh in people’s minds, the dark atmosphere and frequent mood swings that define Superunknown seem even more real and relevant than ever.

Truth be told, calling Superunknown a grunge album is a massive oversimplification. The 70-minute behemoth is packed with so many shades and flavors of rock music that it’s tough to know where to even begin analyzing it. But I can say one thing right off the bat: as great as the individual songs are, this album is best heard as the entire experience. It may be long, but trust me, it doesn’t feel that long despite how draining it is. There’s an overarching sadness to the record, but the emotional contrasts can add a layer of deception. For instance, “The Day I Tried to Live,” with its hopeful title and relatively upbeat (if a bit off-kilter) riff suggest an optimistic message, but the lyrics tell a different story altogether. Cornell’s charisma on the mic shines through, yes, but the transformation of imagery in the first verse is bizarre and even jaw-dropping. It goes from “seize the day” to “watch the rolling heads” in a matter of seconds, and yet Kim Thayil’s fantastic guitar leads continue to drive the piece along. Other songs bring on the aggression like a parade of bulls, such as the energetic punk jam “Kickstand” or the tight Drop-D riffing found in opener “Let Me Drown.”

But it’s the slower numbers that truly bring out the best in Superunknown. Whereas 90s grunge peers Alice in Chains would use doom metal to create a feeling of horror or sickness, Soundgarden brought the style to more grand and deeply profound places. “Black Hole Sun” sounds almost mystical in the way Thayil’s dreamlike guitar leads blend with the down-to-earth and even minimalist rhythm section, as if some spiritual being is being anchored and weighed down by reality. It’s wonderful that the band could maintain melodic sensibilities while at their darkest, which turned out to be one of their defining traits. The same goes for the closer “Like Suicide,” a song that’s recognizable by an unsettlingly cheery guitar melody while Cornell is singing about smashing a bird with a brick to end its suffering. The subject matter on Superunknown is portrayed and expressed with so much personality, even it reaches its darkest moments. Perhaps the most gloomy and deeply uncomfortable song on here is “4th of July,” a song that fully embraces the most grim and distraught aspects of grunge music and puts them on full display. The slow tread of the riff sounds like you’re watching a portrait slowly decay and melt with time, and the distortion is so thick that it puts many sludge metal bands to shame. Add to that a heavy Drop-C tuning on the guitars and the whole experience is a sound to behold.

The band members are simply fantastic here, no one truly being a weak link. I’ve already touched on Chris Cornell and Kim Thayil a bit, but bassist Ben Shepherd and drummer Matt Cameron deserve their share of praise as well. These guys had so many diverse sounds and knotty time signatures to work through, and they somehow made it sound as natural as any of the other grunge bands at the time who were always playing in 4/4. For the best showing of Cameron’s talents, I highly recommend his amazing performance in the rhythmically complex “Spoonman,” in which he has an inventive drum solo alongside somebody literally tapping spoons (known as Artis the Spoonman!). “Limo Wreck” is also great, if you want to hear how creatively he works around slower tempos. For Ben Shepherd, my favorite moment would be his incredible chemistry with Chris Cornell on the main riff of “Mailman,” an octave-hopping affair with a dreary and somewhat bluesy motif. He also kicks ass on the title track and “Kickstand,” which exhibit his (and Matt Cameron’s) speed and precision more than usual. Every member brings a great level of personality and chemistry to these tunes, and Chris Cornell’s vocal performances here are among the best he’s ever recorded. Just listen to those soaring verses in the title track, as well as those beautifully subdued moments in “4th of July”! Truly a legend.

But it’s truly heartbreaking to see him gone, as well as the fact that we probably won’t get another Soundgarden record ever again. The grunge legends of the 90s seem to be slowly dying out, and Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam is now officially the last of the Big 4 frontmen to still be alive and kicking (unless you count Jerry Cantrell). But much like Alice in Chains, Soundgarden were significant in the fact that they were able to be a bridge between grunge and other genres, especially metal. The band’s style wasn’t just black and white, but allowed to have breathing room and a wealth of diversity in the middle. Simply put, they were an incredible rock band with a distinct style, and Superunknown is their crowning achievement.

SOUNDGARDEN Ultramega OK

Album · 1988 · Alternative Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Unitron
"All your fears are lies"

The late 80's were one of the best times for metal in my book. Thrash Metal was at it's height, and the grunge, stoner rock/metal, and death metal scenes were all kicking off. The metal scene in Washington birthed many now classic bands, with one of those bands being Soundgarden, one of the greatest metal acts of the late 80's and early 90's, and of all time. After contributing to the Deep Six compilation (which also featured grunge/sludge metal pioneers Melvins) and releasing the Screaming Life EP in '87, the band unleashed their debut studio album in 1988.

Unlike most metal bands of the late 80's, Soundgarden had zero elements of thrash or the hair bands, and instead contributed to the slowly growing doom/stoner/sludge metal genres birthed all those years ago by Black Sabbath and Blue Cheer. Soundgarden featured the fuzzy distortion of old school psychedelic rock, the dark crushing riffs of Black Sabbath and Budgie, the attitude of The Stooges, and the screaming siren of vocalist Chris Cornell that was reminiscent of 70's classic rock vocalists such as Robert Plant and Burton Cummings.

UltramegaOK is a raw, rough, rockin', and varied debut. It really takes all of the band's influences together, and makes each song stand out with it's own sound. The album opens right up with the groovy rockers "Flower" and "All Your Lies", which are among the band's best early cuts. The former has one of Kim Thayil's grooviest hooks, rumbling bass from original bassist Hiro Yamamoto, Matt Cameron's always tight drumming, and Chris Cornell's beautiful melodies. The band was already in top form on this first record. "Beyond the Wheel" and "Incessant Mace" are pure doom metal, and absolute favorites of mine and classics of the genre. The former is a haunting dirge with some of Cornell's most spine-chilling screams, and the latter song's crushingly heavy riffs sound straight from the riff master himself, Tony Iommi.

"He Didn't" has a main swirling riff that is quite reminiscent of the ominous theme song of The Twilight Zone, which fits perfectly in a metal setting. The band brings it to a speed metal pace with the shredding "Nazi Driver" and "Head Injury", with the latter being a bit punky. Both tracks have absolutely groovin' bass runs, rampaging razor-sharp guitar riffs, and Cornell's raw siren screams dominating those and most of the album. Soundgarden has done many amazing cover tunes, and this album's cover of the blues classic by Howlin' Wolf, "Smokestack Lightning", is no exception. It's a masterpiece of soulful blues metal, with Thayil delivering metallic blues riffs with much conviction and Cornell really shows his amazing vocal range here. He goes from a bluesy croon throughout most of the song to high-pitched screams that rival Rob Halford's vocals on the early Judas Priest albums.

You may be wondering what's with the weird album name, and it partly has to do with the production. The band didn't think the production turned out all that well, hence the name UltramegaOK. I personally have no issue with the production, I think it fits perfectly fine with the raw and dirty heavy metal that this album displays. The album was remastered though, so even if it does bother you, it sounds a bit cleaner on the 2017 remaster.

Even on their first studio album, Soundgarden made a masterpiece. There are a couple of minor issues, those being the short interludes that just act as a few minutes of filler. "Circle of Power", which is a more hardcore punk-sounding track with Yamamoto on vocals, kind of breaks the flow a bit but it's still a good song that sits in okay with the variety of the album. If you're a fan of old school 70's metal, classic blues rock, grunge, or doom/stoner metal, do yourself a favor and check this album out. It's a near perfect album that deserves more attention. Hope you found this review helpful, feel free to comment!

SOUNDGARDEN Down On The Upside

Album · 1996 · Heavy Alternative Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
It goes without saying that no matter how hard a band tries to pretend that success doesn’t change the equation in their methodology of creating music, the pressures that exert themselves from every possible vector take their toll even on the most dedicated stalwart lovers of indie music blossoming from the grassroots movements of the underground scene. SOUNDGARDEN found this out rather quickly after their phenomenally successfully “Superunknown” album that made them one of the most successful bands of the entire 90s. After several years of touring they finally released their followup DOWN ON THE UPSIDE two years later. Due to the success that led to the freedom of the band exploring their own inclinations, they decided to self-produce the album and delve into ever more experimental realms with most tracks having been written by Chris Cornell and bassist Ben Shepherd rather than a full-on collaborative effort. Because of this musical domination leaving guitarist Kim Thayil out of the mix, this imbalance of creative power led to a less heavy album that focused on Cornell’s vocal range rather than the heavy grungy riffs that dominated “Superunknown.” As most fans of the band agree, this was a mixed blessing with some tracks shining like a diamond in the middle of the sun and others sucking so bad that they in effect become a musical blackhole sun that unfortunately lacked the musical mojo to wash the rain away.

Despite it all, SOUNDGARDEN created a unique followup to their huge success and although it would have been easy to simply create a “Superunknown Part 2”, they sallied forth undeterred to take the bull by the horns and simply crank out music that they were interested in with decidedly mixed results. The album starts off with a fiery blast as “Pretty Noose” starts things off with a catchy echoey riff that bursts into a classic SOUNDGARDEN heavy riffage that not only delivers their expect one two punch of heavy grunge guitar and catchy vocalized melodies by swooner-in-chief Chris Cornell but also offers a sophisticated song structure that sounds like the band is well on their way to progressive pastures (had they stuck it out.) But then as the second track “Rhinosaur” kicks in it becomes apparent that the band was aiming for a more diverse range on the musical spectrum as it pumps out an easily digestible stair step guitar riff in a dropped-D tuning. The most authentic grunge track on the album in fact. “Zero Chance” changes it up completely with an angular slow arpeggiated guitar riff that delivers a very Pearl Jam on acid type of vibe. “Dusty” jumps back into familiar “Superunknown” sound but with less conviction and in a more laid back fashion. Still though quite an addictive song structure showcasing Cornell’s ability to leap vocal octaves with ease.

The ball busting rocker “Ty Cobb” about the powerhouse baseball star (nicknamed The Georgia Peach and was one of the hugest plays of the early 20th century), misleads with a completely folky beginning but quickly blows the house down with a punk metal riff accompanied by a mandola and mandolin folk a section. This is one of my faves followed by the best track on the album: “Blow Up The Outside World.” This is the “Black Hole Sun” of DOWN ON THE UPSIDE with sophisticated chord progressions, multi-octave vocal leaps and dynamics that begin with an echoey depressive beginning that alternates with a more familiar hard rockin’ chorus. Next up is the outstanding “Burden In My Hand,” a hotly debated track (in actually meaning) about a man who (supposedly) murders his girlfriend and leaves her in the desert to rot. Yeah, you thought it was about masturbation, didn’t you? LOL. The open C tuning allows the chord progressions to flow unthinkably perfect and allow Cornell’s vocals to modulate in uncanny perfection. One of the top melodies on the album and completely written by Cornell.

While none of the other tracks can compete with the first seven, “Never Named” and the only track snuck in by Thayil “Never The Machine Forever” display more of the classic heaviness of previous SOUNDGARDEN releases. “Applebite” is strange hypnotic bass oriented groovy piece that could be mistaken for post-rock actually. The rest of the tracks are, ho hum, and fairly weak. The division of musical quality is abundantly clear and after many, many listens to DOWN ON THE UPSIDE, one thing has remained constant. That being that i always listen to the first 10 tracks and then try to go on further and then by the 12th or 13th always switch it off. Afterwards, the ear worms for the first seven resonate for days while any others never stick with me and while some are worth listening to, the last six are complete musical mediocrity in my world.

THE DOWNSIDE

A perfect album these ain’t. No doubts. So if i could wave a magic wand of sorts there are several things i could do to make this a much better album. First of all tracks 11 - 16 should just be scrapped entirely. Not that they are horrible or anything but because they sound like generic SOUNDGARDEN by the numbers and remind me of those innocuous sort of tracks that you would hear at a small music venue from the house stereo system before the bands start to play. You know, the grunge version of library music that is perfectly suitable for background noise but never something that makes you stop the conversation to focus upon. Secondly, shift around some other tracks so that the album ends with a catchy crunchy rocker instead of the dreamy drifters like “Applebite.” “Ty Cobb” would be perfect since it has the perfect hard rock attitude with all that business of “fucking ya up” an all. Thirdly they should have really added a couple more really, really strong tracks that connected this one to their previous output. This album is a victim of getting too experimental for the fanbase’s comfort zone. DOWN ON THE UPSIDE really feels like it was partially constructed during the fertile heyday sessions of “Superunknown” with the remaining tracks being squeezed out of the band by record company pressures. The album begins brilliantly and fizzles out at the end and in retrospect perfectly illuminates the state of affairs that the band was experiencing as tensions were quickly putting an end to any possible future.

THE UPSIDE

Taken as it is i still have to give this album 4 stars but with an explanation, of course! since this isn’t my “normal” type of four star album. That means it’s excellent but in a lopsided way. I simply find the first seven tracks to be some of the best tracks of SOUNDGARDEN’s career equal to the high quality of “Superunknown.” So they are all five stars. Many of the other tracks like “Never Named,” “Applebite” and “Never The Machine Forever” are actually really good tracks but should have been placed in more flattering places between tracks. The rest are OK but unassuming generic tracks that if they had been released as demos wouldn’t have even gotten them a recording contract and more likely thrown in the rubbish bin. Luckily you can simply listen up to track 10 or so and push stop. That’s what i’ve always done and this easy to replicate technique has helped me enjoy this album immensely. DOWN ON THE UPSIDE will surely never be SOUNDGARDEN’s swan song magnum opus but it really does deserve the time of day to delve into deeper. While grunge was mostly catering to instant gratification, there are a few exceptions that require a slightly more rigorous musical appreciation ritual. This being near the top of the list.

CONCLUSION

This album has some of the BEST songs that SOUNDGARDEN ever wrote!

This album has some of the WORST songs that SOUNDGARDEN ever wrote!

This album proves why having a producer can be a good thing since a diplomat at a power struggle table can only help steer the band in the right direction!

This album proves that NOT having a producer can be a good thing as it allows the band to unfurl every whimsy they can think up letting the brilliant coincide with the festering fecal matter!

This album is one of the classic examples of a mixed bag but i deem it essential for the brilliant strong tracks that totally eclipse any of the crap that ends it!

Therefore i deem this one a very unorthodox 4 star album and one that should NOT be skipped although experienced with an open mind with no expectations of a repeat of past offerings :)

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