on 16 November 2012
Soundgarden are back, and long overdue!
Their sound has slightly evolved but the core of Soundgarden is still there, the time signatures, nutty riffs and wailing guitars (needs more of this from Kim).
On the first few listens you might feel alienated but the more you listen the more it grows on you (classic Soundgarden) and for only a tenner you shouldn't be disappointed.
Chris has gotten on a bit so his voice isn't what it used to be (to be expected, but don't let this put you off)
I'd also mention that Matt out did himself on the drums in this album, I would argue it's some of his best work.
Overall great purchase, I hope they can release another album because there are very few bands that can come back together after nearly 2 decades, pushing 50, and still out perform and songwrite most bands today.
on 10 November 2012
When Soundgarden reformed in 2010 and embarked on a tour the question was always going to be will they record a new album? Well the answer is yes and the even better news is that the album is very good and has all the hallmarks of Soundgarden's now classic sound. It might be 16 years since the band released "Down On The Upside" but listening to "King Animal" it doesn't really feel that long, it's as if we have been transported back to the nineties.
Fittingly the album starts with "Been Away too Long" which has a trademark Chris Cornell vocal that twists it way over the music as he uses his powerful range to carry the song on which features a typical powerful Kim Thayil riff, it also features a nice bass breakdown at about the 2.20 mark. While Soundgarden have always been associated with grunge it's fair to say that their origins always lay with Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin as can be heard in hard hitting numbers "Non-State Actor" and "Blood On The Valley Floor" which are both riff heavy.
As well as the heavier numbers there is a few laid back songs on "King Animal" such as "Halfway There" which wouldn't have sounded out of place on "Down On The Upside". There is the ramshackle of closing track "Rowing" which has more than a hint of Steve Earle about it. It has to be said that Matt Cameron's drumming is a superb as ever.
It would have been easy for Soundgarden not to release a new album and to continue to live on their superb back catalogue but with album number 6 "King Animal" Soundgarden sound as relevant and as important as they ever did. It's great to have them back!
on 5 December 2012
Soundgarden are my favourite band, I have all their albums and a lot of their CD singles that contain some of their rarer stuff. Like many others I was excited on the announcement of this new album and even pre-ordered the delux version.
The first listen was a little underwhelming as only the first track really appealed to me. However, like another reviewer has said it can take a number of listens to get into some of Soundgarden's later material, which holds true for this release. Also like their last album, a lot of the songs seem largely influenced by Chris, and if you have listened to his solo albums you will know where I am coming from. Fortunately there is enough of a balance with the old school Soundgarden style to offset this.
Now comes the negative, the last 3 tracks on this delux version are just demo's of 3 of the other tracks on the album. Now I wish I had read the tracklist more closely on Amazon, but being a fan I just went ahead and ordered what I thought would be the best version. As a result I feel a little short changed and let down by the band because 3 extra pounds hasnt got me 3 extra songs! And the demo's certainly dont add anything, other than run time. Am sure they had extra material when recording this album that they could have included instead on the delux version.
My advice is get the non-delux version, even if like me you are a Soundgarden fan.
on 19 November 2012
I was very excited to see Soundgarden on Jools Holland's show and had no idea there was a new album! Superunknown is one of my all time favourite albums and I can't rate Chris Cornell highly enough as a songwriter and singer. So I watched the show and was impressed with Been Away Too Long, a good rocker. I was a little confused by Taree, I thought to myself this probably sounds better on the album and makes more sense there, which it does. Great to see them play live.
Like a few comments here I was a little disappointed with the album - at first anyway, from a purely "Soundgarden" aspect. Not really a "dirty" enough sound, it's certainly not a continuation from Down On The Upside, although there are flavours of old like the very beginning of "A Thousand Days Before". But then that was a long time ago and they were never realistically going to pick up like they've never been away.
Having listened to it a few times I must say I really like it. The opening track is just great and the best way to kick off. I won't give a run down of all the tracks as this is just personal preference. I will say "Halfway There" is pure Cornell solo album (not that one we won't mention though!) but I'd rather it on the album than not as it is wonderful. Some really good songs, a few ok ones, no awful ones thankfully.
Overall I think a 3.5 or 4 is just about right. Short of their past best and a little inconsistent but in the current climate of dross and considering the break, rather good.
on 15 November 2012
I remember it well: New Year's Day 2010. My friend informed me that Soundgarden had reformed and returned to the studio. To me, that only feels like yesterday! Now, here I sit listening to the result of that: 'King Animal'. I can't believe this has been 3 years (pretty much, if you round it off) in the making!
The first thing I have to say about 'King Animal' is that it is a good, solid and enjoyable listen; the band are really back with a bang here!
In terms of specific songs, I would select 'Been Away Too Long', 'Non-State Actor', 'A Thousand Days Before' and 'Blood on the Valley Floor' as definite contenders. Out of these, my utmost personal favourite has to be 'Blood on the Valley Floor' - it's classic Soundgarden, but with a fresh, distinctive new sound!
There are a few songs present here that, in my view, really are not much to write home about at all. Sadly, with studio albums, that's just par of the course! However, from 'Black Saturday' onwards to the end of the album, that's a real treat! In my opinion, the album really shines here!!
Also, the songs 'Black Saturday' and 'Halfway There' see the band experiment with an acoustic sound and, frankly, the results are really good!
So, overall, 'King Animal' is a solid return from Soundgarden. It's their first studio release in over 15 years and a rock solid return it is.
Buy it. Enjoy!
Thanks for reading this. I hope it helps.
on 7 November 2012
I have been a fan of Soundgarden for many years, and when they reformed a couple of years ago I expected them to just do a few shows and be contented with the chance of maybe seeing them in the UK for the first time in years and years, Never in my wildest dreams did i anticipate a new album coming out with completely new material - and what an album it is, an absolute stormer full of diversity, quality playing, interesting tunes and for me most of all Chris Cornells superb vocal, which is backed up by great playing from the three other members. The album for me easily is as good as the last one of many years go "Down On The Upside", I have heard the full album (without the extra tracks in the deluxe edition ), and it really is superb fayre!!. Stand Out tracks are the brillaint "Bones Of Birds" ( which is dark and deep with a great lyric) , and "None State Actor" ( Powerful and intense ) ,which i'm sure if played live will be show stoppers. An excellent welcome back then and a definite thumbs up from me. All im waiting for is the vinyl to come through the post!,
I have now had the chance to listen to the album for a more prolonged period, and to me it rates as probably their second best album after "Superunknown" which as we all know is a bone fide classic Rock Album. As well as the two tracks mentioned earlier probably what is for me the best track on the album - " Black Saturday " , incredible feel and superb and thoughtful lyrics, simply put for me the best track they have done since the great days. Well Done on a superb album!. One to Savour!!!.
on 8 December 2012
I've been listening to this album for a few months now and my opinion's pretty similar to my immediate impression: rocking if uninspired. Soundgarden haven't fallen down the spiral of mediocrity yet but I can't say this record has improved their legacy. The album lacks songs that contend with the strength of previous glories like 'Superunknown' or 'Blow Up The Outside World'. Chris Cornell was always one of those rock vocalists who had such a rich soulful power to his range, but he doesn't produce any of those bleakly golden moments here like he did in 'Like Suicide' or '4th of July'. Kim Thayil, responsible for the creme de la creme of guitar riffs during the grunge era sets his creativity to the back for this one in support of the general groove. However, thanks to Matt Cameron and the strong production, the album is cohesive all the way through and what results is a decent rock album. It's just not what you would have dreamt of a year ago. If this is your first Soundgarden album then I suspect you won't be too disappointed as this is still high pedigree rock.
on 18 March 2013
The Knights of the Soundtable ride again! King Animal is Soundgarden's first studio album since their 2010 reunion, and their first album of new material since 1996's Down on the Upside. And this album was definitely worth the wait. Soundgarden, driven by the wailing (and no less powerful) vocals of Chris Cornell, the mighty guitar riffs of Kim Thayil, the bouncy basslines of Ben Shepherd, and the eclectic and versatile drumming of Matt Cameron, have crafted a magnificent work of rock 'n roll. The overall vibe is similar to that of the band's previous albums Superunknown (IMO their magnum opus) and Down on the Upside. The songs are grungy without sounding nostalgic; instead they sound like a fresh reawakening. The band maneuvers through odd time signatures with ease, performing with vitality despite their older age. There are fast songs and slow songs, heavy rockers and soft acoustic tracks, psychedelic dirges and energetic bursts of alt-metal. Hats off to Soundgarden for making not only an excellent comeback album, but one of the best albums of 2012
on 15 June 2013
This is a good album that shows that Seattle rockers Soundgarden haven't lost their edge. There's plenty here to
please old fans as well as hints of Chris Cornell's solo work in places. Kicking off with "Been Away Too Long", a rock
opener that lets you see they wanted and needed to make this record. There are a few songs which are similar to
Superunknown, but this album doesn't quite reach their former glory. The songs don't quite scale the heights of the
classic "Black Hole Sun", "Just Like Suicide" or "Fell on Black Days", but are nevertheless pretty good. There are some
mellower moments with "Bones of Birds", "Taree" and "Halfway There" to add lyrical and musical contrasts to the more metal/grunge compositions which was always their trademark. Final track "Rowing" a bluesy soul searching track which
has the characteristic brilliant guitar soloing of Kim Thyal . A really rather worthwhile album.
on 28 December 2012
I have given four stars for king animal but I'm sure it will become a five with time. Soundgarden albums tend to creep up on you! A wonderful collection of songs/music with the obvious classic opener - huge riff, fantastic vocals, a very exciting track with outstanding drumming. The production on the album is perfect, brighter than previous albums - lots of room for all the instruments and vocals, genius! As a longstanding Soundgarden fan I feel that this album will come as a relief to others, in that it is a true Soundgarden album. Superunknown will always be their pinnacle but king animal is a very worthwhile venture, shining with class and soul. Stand up and be proud guys!