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King Animal lacking real roar

Craig Farrell 

After sixteen years hiatus, American rock band Soundgarden are back with the release of their sixth album entitled King Animal

Fifteen years is a very long time.  So it is very apt that the opening track on Soundgarden’s sixth studio album is entitled ‘Been Away Too Long’.

Much anticipation has been brewing around the release of new material. It has been 16 years since the last release of original music from the Seattle, Washington grunge quartet.

For many, ‘King Animal’ will be a musical masterpiece due to the length of time it took for one of the best bands of the late 80’s and 90’s to reunite. However, sadly their reunion did not result in a reproduction of what once was.

Much like Brandon Flowers with the Killers, Chris Cornell has let the music influence of his solo career and other musical projects seep in and interfere with the sound of his musical origins.

‘King Animal’ lacked the rage and animalistic vibe that can be felt from 1988’s ‘Ultramega OK’ to ‘Down on the Upside’, which was released in 1996.

It is hard to see any song from ‘King Animal’s’ thirteen-song tracklist etching its name alongside previous gems from Soundgarden such as ‘Black Hole Sun’, ‘Rusty Cage’ or ‘Jesus Christ Pose’.

‘Bones of Birds’ is a hollow attempt to rekindle the psychedelic mastery that the band achieved on ‘Black Hole Sun’. The song has an affective, trippy riff but loses its way in the chorus – it also lacks the chaotic solo/outro that lifted ‘Black Hole Sun’ onto its pedicle.

The album showed signs of apathy in the final half as the band laid two acoustical efforts – in the vane of ‘Burden In My Hand’ back-to-back in “Black Saturday’ and ‘Halfway There’.

‘Worse Dreams’ boasts a fantastic bass riff, which is nicely complimented by Kim Thayil, but again the song loses direction in the chorus and plateaus too soon.

‘King Animal’ has an overall vibe that resembles that of AC/DC, which is fine if you pick up an AC/DC album but it is doubtful whether that will be what many eager Soundgarden fans were hoping for.

Verdict: 2 out of 5

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