"Soundgarden's" last album was released on November 13, 2012 !!
This is the band's "rebirth" album and by no means call it a "comeback" album !! Because it's fate...
"But it's fate
I only ever really wanted a break
I’ve been away for too long
Though I never really wanted to stay
I’ve been away for too long
I've been away for too long
I've been away for too long"
We remember when we heard back in 2012 that "Soundgarden" was back to perform and maybe even release a new album together, we were in total shock !!! After all, there was almost nothing left of the Grunge at that time. "STP"s have been gone since 2010, "Pearl Jam" were light years away from the revolution they were partners back in the early 90s, "Alice In Chains" lost their voice somewhere in 1995, and "Nirvana"... no need to explain. So when the only band left in its original lineup said it might release an album, we immediately felt the tremors and general weakness that attacked our bodies.
Even our hearts melted within us.
What an excitement it was, the band we love so much, with the sound so unique, heavy, and rough, with the amazing lyrics and one of the most talented vocalists in the world, back in action, performing and creating. We longed to find out what the friends from Seattle were preparing for us after 16 years of absence. We read every bit of information, and searched the web for testimonies, clues, and parts of sounds, just to try and find out what awaited us. Then on September 27, 2012, the first single from the album "Been Away Too Long" (quoted above) came out, and it kind of came to explain to us why we are here, right now, listening to "Soundgarden"'s album. Call it fate, call it longing, call it back from the dark, a revival, it does not matter, because this album is real, rough, heavy, and melodic just like before. It sounded like it was recorded in the 1990s, buried in a time capsule, and reappeared over two decades later.
All this nostalgic magic began when the band members met in 2009 to discuss the re-release of some of their material and new Merch'. Then, in 2010 Chris Cornell surprised everyone on Twitter when he wrote:
“The 12-year break is over and school is back in session. Sign up now. Knights of the Soundtable ride again!”
In 2010 the band members made a decision that they are re-learning their old songs, will hold some shows for fun and that's it. But while recording a new song called "Black Rain" released in 2010 as part of a collection called "Telephantasm", they felt the electricity flowing through their veins again, connecting them together. The recordings of the song became a rolling jam session of new material and joint improvisations by all the band members, by which time it was already clear to everyone.
They must release a new album!
In the spring of 2011, the "Fantastic Four" entered the famous "Studio X" studio in Seattle, accompanied by their old friend, producer Adam Kasper, and began working on a new album. Although the work on the album was complex and almost stopped in the middle because of Chris' "Songbook" tour, in November 2012 the band's sixth album came out, after 16 years of silence.
Yes, we have already mentioned it and we will mention it again... 16 years !!!
Unfortunately, this is also the band's last album before its final dissolution, with Chris' death in 2017.
(Photo: Justin Borucki)
If we go back a bit in time...
In 1996, "Down On The Upside", the band's last album before the long 16-year hiatus, was released. It was a bold, different, and varied album, which contributed greatly to the musical disagreement and the different directions that each member of the band wanted to take. When you think about it "King Animal" is more a sequel to the album "Superunknown" than to "Down On The Upside" that followed...
The album opens with the song "Been Away Too Long" when Chris screams as if he's pissed off about himself but it feels like a little about us too, he is angry that he hasn't been here that long, that no one knows him anymore. Oh and how much we missed Kim's guitar and sound, how much we missed the way Chris' voice was heard above "Soundgarden"'s rhythm division. Already here one feels that the beloved band is back, strong and kicking, just as it was 16 years earlier. Chris said that the main idea for the song came to him on a sleepless night when he wrote the lyrics only at a later stage of the album recording.
He noted that they are not necessarily talking specifically only about returning to the band, but also about the whole point of returning to a place you have not been to in a long time.
The album continues to hit us hard with "Non-State Actor" followed immediately by "By Crooked Steps", one of the album's most powerful songs with the syncopations and insane off-beat, with Matt Cameron and Ben serving as the band's perfect rhythm section, allowing Kim and Chris to saw our brains with The heavy and broken rif.
This amazing song that Chris called "a little weird" sat on an asymmetrical rhythm of 5/4 and was released as the second single from the album. It is interesting to note that its music video was directed by none other than Dave Grohl, an honorary member of the Seattle grunge scene himself.
In the video below he is talking about working with "Soundgarden" on the clip.
As a whole, this album definitely meets the expectations we had from a reviving album of one of our favorite bands and maintains a uniform and high level almost throughout.
"A Thousand Days Before" surprised us with the oriental rhythm, "Blood On The Valley Floor" took us back in time to the first album with the heavy and gloomy reef, the melodic and amazing "Bones Of Birds" completely crushed us, and then Chris' voice rapped us, hugged and flew with us up to heaven.
Chris wrote this song inspired by his children. He explained that when he wrote the song he thought he did not want his children to lose their innocence and discover the true face of the world.
"Taree" was composed back in 1997 by Ben and he even recorded a demo of it for his solo album "Deep Owl", but then he decided that this song needed "Soundgarden"'s treatment. Chris wrote the lyrics during the recordings of the album and they are, he claims, his love letter to the Northwestern United States, where he lived and grew up.
"Black Saturday" was one of the first songs Chris wrote for the album. He claimed that the bass and melody reminded him of Paul McCartney and the "Beatles". As for the lyrics, he noted that they corresponded with the song "Fell On Black Days". It is a kind of hint to his friends and acquaintances to stop and warn you when they see that you are deteriorating towards those "black days".
It is also interesting that the song "Halfway There", according to Cornell, comes from the same family as Fell On Black Days, lyrically. For some reason, this moving song feels to us more like Cornell's solo career than "Soundgarden", but we have no problem with that.
Here we must say (which may sound a little annoying to you), that even though it is a good album that meets our expectations in many ways, we still lack a "hit", a catchy song, that will be perceived by us strongly, that will make us feel addictive, that will make us want to listen to it over and over again. , Just like the band's iconic songs from the 1990s.
And in a slightly personal tone, it's tough to live up to fans' expectations after 16 years of silence. On the one hand, we want to go back in time, do "freeze" to our feelings and sensations we had at the time, and hear the band we love so much just as we remember it. On the other hand, we too have matured, changed, changed our marital status, and we rightly expect the band we have known and loved to be more up-to-date, and more innovative, which is probably the dissonance of this album.
On the one hand, it evokes in us feelings we forgot somewhere in the nineties, which is good, and it's nostalgic and it's fun, on the other hand, as soon as you take off the headphones it suddenly sounds a bit disconnected and unrelated to your period and desire to listen to the same album. Fading. So yeah, we'll tell you we were really excited and excited to hear Chris with Kim, Matt, and Ben just like before, but we also had a part that was expecting a surprise, a novelty for something refreshing that would make us put songs from this album in the latest playlist because we've progressed a bit ...