King Animal

Studio Album by released in 2012
King Animal's tracklist:
Been Away Too Long
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Non-State Actor
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By Crooked Steps
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A Thousand Days Before
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Blood On The Valley Floor
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Bones Of Birds
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Taree
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Attrition
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Black Saturday
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Halfway There
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Worse Dreams
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Eyelid's Mouth
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Rowing
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Worse Dreams (Demo)
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Black Saturday (Demo)
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By Crooked Steps (Demo)
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Bones Of Birds (Demo)
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A Thousand Days Before (Demo)
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King Animal review

A big return of a big band

Chris Cornel said back in 2010 that Soundgarden, dissolved in the late nineties, were going to reunite soon. So the legendary ensemble’s fans simply stayed patient waiting for the words to become reality. The release of a CD called King Animal two years later was no surprise for those who had been following the situation. The record is the first studio album by the band in sixteen years, but the rockers did everything they could for listeners to miss out the gigantic time abyss. The fresh long player was prepared by an affiliate of a major label which collaborates, for instance, with Metallica, and the production was entrusted to a specialist Adam Casper who had already worked with Soundgarden. Finally, the music content of the new album effortlessly and in a most natural way reminds of the best records of the outfit, who, by the moment of their collapse, had walked a long way from their trademark sound. Now, they look set to come back.

King Animal is executed in the signature Soundgarden style

Who must be singled out in Soundgarden as the top man on King Animal, considering each musician having done his job to the limit of his abilities? If course, most focus is going to vocalist Chris Cornell who only gets better year after year. Been Away Too Long is his manifesto where he comments upon the early breakup of his band and reproaches the audience for forgetting them too fast. The song has an encouragingly lively tempo and intensity, signifying that the musicians do not want to hold back anything and look to unleash the emotions. The majority of the King Animal songs are executed in the ensemble’s classic fashion. Soundgarden have not lost their most powerful weapon, the ability to combine guitar heaviness and mighty drums with dark suspense and brooding atmosphere. Whereas Non-State Actor, and By Crooked Steps impress with various breaks and instable rhythms, Blood On The Valley Floor, and Bones Of Birds rely on heavy riff basis and entwine with an ominous cold. A Thousand Days Before could have become a radio hit thank to perfect tunefulness, but its light guitars contrast with Chris’s suppressed voice and depressive lyrics.

A modern production for a never-aging music

King Animal is as good as it can be and it look eagerly towards the past, begging to be somewhere in the early nineties, when Soundgarden set the tone for hard rock. However, the production will not let the album go there. Even the pretty heavy Attrition, and Taree would have sounded a lot edgier, dirtier and truer, but today, as heavy as they are, you can feel the nearly absolute polished of the sound. Nevertheless, the album is a total win for Soundgarden. The musicians, as if they have never parted, showed how wide the range of their abilities is, had far their song-writing views go. It is for the right reason the ensemble is often said to develop the ideas of Led Zepellin themselves, slightly simplifying the music of the great British band and making it more accessible for the young audience. At last, for those who think they can make no other music, the set is closed by a wonderful experiment called Rowing, a kind of gothic story with a blues soundtrack. How can we not see an irony in the album’s cover, saying Soundgarden are too far away from their winter and they have nothing and nobody to bury yet.