Soundgarden - King Animal
“I’ve been away for too long / Though I never really wanted to stay.” A line that speaks volumes. Taken from the comeback single for grunge pioneers Soundgarden Been Away Too Long it says a lot about the band’s attitude to returning. With a new album in tow, their first in 16 years, what’s the verdict on King Animal?
Soundgarden were one of the those bands that drama never seemed to follow. They came, they made their mark on music then they sort of disappeared without a bang. Solo albums and supergroups followed, but the announcement recently that the band were to join forces again to make new music was a very welcome one.
King Animal as a comeback album is a good one. I don’t want to say excellent, i don’t want to say bad, but it is good. Drawing it’s strength from the likes of Superunknown, it is classic Soundgarden but upped for the 21st century. They have always had a great ability to combine deep grooves with a dark lyrical content, and that is still evident here. And Chris Cornell's ever distinctive voice is as powerful as ever.
Tracks like Non-State Actor and By Crooked Steps are stand outs, and remind us of how fantastic Soundgarden can be, but there are a lot of run of the mill songs here. Black Saturday, Bones of Birds and Worse Dreams tail off and are almost too similar to what we have already heard many years ago. There isn’t really a fresh feeling to the record, more of a they went away, and now they have crept back in unnoticed feeling, which is a shame.
Don’t get me wrong, the album is a good album, and very worthy of listening, it is just maybe lacking a little of what was expected. I had hoped they would come back with a monster of an album to outdo everyone, but instead they have returned with one that would not sound out of place a decade and a half ago when the band called it a day.
Song of the day
Soundgarden’s new single “Been Away Too Long” is our song of the day!
Feature Friday: Mother Love Bone
Another week, another feature band! This time we delve into the world of Mother Love Bone, a classic band with a brilliant story…
Most Seattle rock bands of the late 80’s (Soundsgarden/Nirvana/Mudhoney) were considered a reaction against the prevailing glam metal scene that was at its peak and that MTV eating out of the palm of its hand. But there was at least one band from Seattle who could fit into the mainstream, combining elements of both the grunge and the glam with anthemic choruses, that was Mother Love Bone. Their lead singer and focal point was the flamboyant and incredibly charismatic Andrew Wood.
Born in Columbus in 1966, Wood discovered rock music via the theatrical rockers of the 70s, such as KISS, Aerosmith and Queen. Woods first serious band, Malfunkshun, which he joined at 14, and would perform dolled up in make up and outrageous clothes under the persona Landrew the Love Child. The group lasted for much of the 80s and built up quite a following but never released an album. By 1988, Wood left Malfunkshun and began jamming with Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard, formally of Green River, the new outfit would eventually be named Mother Love Bone.
Like Malfunkshun, Mother Love Bone included elements of glam rock, but also the more stripped down sound of Gossard and Ament’s former band. The fanbase of the band grew and grew and they were signed by Polydor in 1989, releasing their first EP Shine later that year.
By September 1989, the group were hard at work recording their debut album (to be titled Apple), but Wood’s developing drug issues saw him enter rehab for the later part of the year. Expectations were running very high for the album release, but on March 16 1990 Andrew Wood was found in a comatose state in his apartment having taken a lethal overdose of heroin. Wood was placed on life support but sadly passed away three days later.
Mother Love Bone broke up shortly after Wood’s death and the Seattle scene was left shaken by his passing. Apple was finally issued later in the year to glowing reviews and still today is considered to be one of the stand out albums of the era. Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament went on to form Pearl Jam with Mike McCready, Eddie Vedder and a revolving number of drummers, finding breakthrough success in 1992 and are still together and touring now.
Mother Love Bone will be our featured artist all week, so keep checking back for a look back at the legacy of the band, playlists and all you need to know about the founders of ‘loverock’.
New song snippet from Soundgarden
Last week we brought you the news that Soundgarden are to release their first new album since 1996. We can now reveal that the album will be called King Animal and will be released on November 13.
The band have also released a 30 second clip including an excerpt from a new track entitled Worse Dreams. Check out the video below.
Release date for new Soundgarden album?
Since their reunion in 2010, Soundgarden have excited many fans with the idea of a new album, having released “Live To Rise” for The Avengers soundtrack earlier this year. And now, word has it the grunge legends are finally set for a release which is to be their first studio work since 1996’s experimental “Down on the Upside”. According to Rolling Stone magazine, the album as yet untitled, is set for release on the 13th of November.
Chris Cornell - City Hall, Newcastle - 20.06.2012
Fresh from an apparently blinding set at Download with Soundgarden, Chris Cornell brought his solo Songbook tour to Newcastle for the first time.
Opening with Roads We Choose, a bonus track from his 2007 album Carry On, you can tell straight away that this is going to be more than a standard, Greatest Hits type gig.
Accompanied only by his guitar, a record player, and at one point during Outshined a particularly talented fan from the crowd on guitar, he manages to cover most highlights from his career. From Soundgarden tracks like Blow Up The Outside World and Fell On Black Days, to Audioslave’s Like A Stone via several Temple Of The Dog songs including my particular highlight, a stripped down version of Call Me A Dog, it is impossible not to be drawn in by his voice.
The laid back atmosphere of the gig seems to bring out a funnier side of his personality than I’ve seen at previous shows, and joking with audience members about his stage props and the Geordie accent makes it all seem more intimate than you would normally expect from a show in a venue the size of City Hall.
Finishing the two hour set with Black Hole Sun and a cover of the Beatles' A Day In The Life seems to leave everyone hoping it won’t be long before he’s back on these shores again.
New Soundgarden track on free Download
Following an influx of festival dates after their reunion in 2010, Soundgarden have contributed a track to the upcoming Avengers film soundtrack and have made it eligible for free download. Receiving a mixed review from fans, it isn’t quite up to the usual standard we associate with the group, but I think we can forgive them for being a little rusty!
Download the track here. The band are headlining this years Hard Rock Calling as well as making an appearance at Download Festival.