Soundgarden – KING ANIMAL


Hi and welcome to my blog about all things music. Well I say all things music, there is the possibility that I might shoot off at a tangent from time to time about anything and everything but essentially, this is a blog about the music I love, and the sounds that have struck a chord with me (no pun intended) and have been a part of my life since I bought my very first record a very, very long time ago. Incidentally, that record was by a band called Five Star, yeah, remember them? Please spare me the embarrassment and don’t try too hard. Yeah, it was bad. But you have to start somewhere and I was very young and my tastes improved really quickly. Ok, so that’s my soul bared within the first paragraph of my first post, this is going really well!

So, why do I assume anybody cares about what I think? The fact is I don’t. Music is as subjective as anything could possibly be, we are all drawn to different styles, different sounds and different rhythms. Musical preference is a very personal thing. But it is a powerful force. it can stir every emotion, it can send you soaring higher than any drug could ever take you, or take you to the lowest depths of your innermost feelings. Wherever it takes you, the connection we forge with the music we love is something that can never be broken, and it can help shape the way we live our lives and see ourselves within the chaos of existence.

Where am I heading with this diatribe? Well, my pen name is a clue to the initiated, and a complete nonsense to those that aren’t. It doesn’t matter either way, but let me shed a little light on why I am here in the first place. The 1990’s were probably the last seminal era of music. Yes, I am biased but I am also right. After a few years of listening to what was basically crap, slowly honing my tastes but really struggling to find a path to follow, the grunge scene hit me and many, many others like a ton of bricks. After a decade or so of cock rock and big hair music (a lot of which had it’s virtues, that’s without question) and pointless pop, I mean seriously, when did pop music ever have any real purpose other than to prey on the unenlightened and fill the coffers of the record companies? Suddenly music became real again. Suddenly the whole scene shifted to a place that was raw and brutal and honest. Bands were making music for different reasons to those that came before them. Bands like Alice In Chains, Nirvana and Soundgarden were baring their souls into a microphone. it wasn’t pretty, it was pretty ugly. But it was real. It was music driven by pure emotion, often dark, often desperate, always genuine. Music driven by such force of emotion could not fail to connect with the masses. Every single one of us that made that connection with this new sound could have been Kurt, or Layne or Chris. They felt how we felt. They conveyed our thoughts and emotions into a sound that reverberated deep into our consciousness, leaving it’s mark within every one of us to this day.

Hence why I am here. There is a new album coming out soon, November 13th to be precise, and the fervour and anticipation, in my house at least, is palpable. Fifteen long years ago the music world was rocked with the announcement that Soundgarden had split. Ok, so maybe it wasn’t such a shock, but I was choked. The album ‘Down On The Upside’ had just months before been released to favourable reviews. It was their fifth studio album and in my opinion in many ways their best. it had failed to sell in the same kind of numbers as Superunknown (an impossible task) but it was an evolution of their sound in a more alternative, production rich direction, enhancing on the sonic soundscapes carved out in earlier releases and taking them to a new, more self assured level. I for one, enjoyed it. So on the 9th April 1997, when news broke that they were disbanding I was disappointed to say the least. It was the end of an era. Alice In Chains, my other favourite band of the time were on hiatus, Nirvana were long gone and Pearl Jam were making good music, but nothing that lived up to the likes of ‘Ten’ or ‘Vs’. The grunge movement was dying a slow, painful death. Nothing lasts forever and expectation is the pass time of the fool, but that does not mean that we cannot lament the passing of something treasured and precious to us. Needless to say those records that had meant so much were played to death over the course of the following years. Layne Staley’s tragic death in 2002 dealt another blow to an already dead movement and save for the likes of TOOL, the music of our generation was long gone, replaced by a new pitiful genre that fused rock and rap and all kinds of crap. Stand up Limp Bizkit ( I mean come on, just look at the name) and Linkin Park.

Jump forward to New Years Day 2010 and the message via Twitter, ‘…The Knights of the Sound Table ride again’.

It was what we’d all been waiting for. There had been rumors, little snippets of suggestion that had us all excited and hopeful that maybe, just maybe Soundgarden would return and save us all from Bieber oblivion. But every feint hope had been shot down or dismissed as nothing but a pipe dream. Then suddenly, there it was, in black and white, like a Christmas present delivered a week late from the mouth of the man himself, Chris Cornell, that indeed music was about to be saved allover again. Ok, so that may be something of an overstatement, we didn’t actually know what he meant, but it had to be good right? Whatever it meant, there was just that slim chance there could be new material in the offing, another small nugget of hope for us all to cling onto like a lifebelt in a raging sea of talent-less shit. And then it was confirmed, new material, a new album, it was gonna happen, it was a definite. The calls of “HALLELUJAH!!” rang from my chair, from fan forums, web boards and music writers alike. It was the news we’d all longed to hear for way too long.

And so to now and the confirmation of an album title, track listing, and release date. November 13th 2012, did I say that already? It’s two days before I turn 38 years young but it’s a date that cannot come soon enough. The teaser trailer is just that, one minute and twenty four seconds of outright, unashamed teasiness. Read into it what you will. Soundgarden have always been a band that have allowed the listener to forge their own perceptions of their music and their lyrics. But it sounds awesome, check it out below. It sounds like they are picking up from where they left off. A little dark, a little alternative, maybe experimental? They are older, wiser, refreshed and renewed. Who knows what to expect? I don’t personally care. All that matters is that the Knights of The Sound Table are back and they are gonna blow us all away allover again!

Soundgarden – King Animal Trailer


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