I’m not sure if it feels like yesterday, or if it feels like a lifetime ago, but it was 10 years on November 13, 2012 that Seattle’s Soundgarden released their 6th and final album King Animal. The album came 16 years after the band’s previous release in 1996 called Down on the Upside (an album of which I am completely enamored with).
I’ve been a huge fan of Soundgarden since I heard Badmotorfinger’s song “Jesus Christ Pose” back in 1991. I had just started getting into CDs at this time and the grunge music scene was taking hold. Since those original first listens, I was hooked, so it is without doubt that I was a little disappointed to hear of the band’s breakup in 1997. Sure, I followed Chris Cornell’s new project with Audioslave, and his solo stuff, but neither of it was Soundgarden.
Once I had heard the news of the band’s reunion in 2010, I was completely gassed! When the new album dropped in 2012, I had rushed out and picked up a copy of the disc. The first single off the album was “Been Away Too Long” and it was completely fitting. The fact is, Cornell and the band had been away for too long. Far too long!
As music fans, we typically lean 1 of 2 ways… we either love our favourite bands to stay true to their sound, or we want something different. But regardless of the outcome, we tend to wish the opposite. For me, I don’t love too much change. I want a little, but I don’t want a completely different sound. From a Soundgarden point of view, my least favourite album from them is 1994s Superunknown. To me, the album was a little too clean. A little too “produced”. A little too mainstream.
I was happy that King Animal had taken the band back a little bit, with more of their Down on the Upside sound. Although that exact thing is what caused critics to just give the album lukewarm reviews. But what do they know?
A number of the tracks here are gentler from Soundgarden’s early days, but it’s still got that raw feel. It’s a fantastic listen, and it still gets placed on my leather turntable slipmat to this day.
Sadly, we were not going to get anything else from the group after this release due to the unfortunate passing of frontman Chris Cornell in 2017.
Been Away Too Long