Soundgarden: King Animal

It’s intoxicating, imposing, and utterly imaginative. Yes, therefore it has been well worth the wait, because Soundgarden’s King Animal roars and reigns! The foursome, who are synonymous with the term grunge but really offer so much more than that, haven’t lost their recipe for magic in the studio, actually perfecting it. Their sixth full-length album doesn’t just rehash the glory days of “Gun,” “Jesus Christ Pose” or “Fell On Black Days,” it’s a bold new chapter that guarantees more glory days to come. Besides pulling from all the experience they’ve amassed over the years, Chris Cornell, Kim Thayil, Ben Shepherd and Matt Cameron also showcase their panache for experimentation, which is what got them their notoriety in the first place.

Cornell’s bellowing growls on the irreverent yet refined “Eyelids Mouth” go along for the ride as Shepherd’s bass plunges to the Earth’s core while “Taree” is sleek and sexy as it wafts through the air with a newfound abandon. The guitars in “Been Away Too Long” will surely be the impetus for many a speeding ticket. “Rowing” bares a hopeful message against an alluring, darkly mysterious backdrop filled with quicksand rhythm and unbreakable momentum.

The thrilling stomp of “By Crooked Steps” is accented by Chris’ much beloved poetic chops with the innovative line, “I’m the shape of the whole inside your heart.” The fulfilling, raw rebellion of “Non-State Actor” is addictive with scorching riffs and primal screams of victory.

In short, the men who made King Animal are at the peak of their prowess, and the record is a rightful heir to the Soundgarden legacy.

In A Word: Throne