Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Soundgarden, "Telephantasm"

Soundgarden was always among the more intriguing outfits of the early ‘90s rock generation. Their dichotomy of being cool, brainy guys that could rock you as hard as any mob of meatheads put them in an exclusive class. Frontman Chris Cornell was blessed with a testosterone-charged yowl comparable to Robert Plant, and just as pretty. Kim Thayill’s textured guitar playing leaned toward the sublime and substantive over flash. But it Soundgarden's ability to craft tight, explosive songs that made them famous. This comprehensive retrospective concentrates on the big hits like “Black Hole Sun,” but mixes in a few fan favorites to keep it interesting — like “Hunted Down,” a caustic down-tuned roar from their early Sub Pop era, which already hints at their expansive potential. The draw here for fans both old and new is “Black Rain,” a monstrous, previously unreleased song from their fertile BADMOTORFINGER era. But track for track, TELEPHANTASM is a fitting testament to the legacy of these rock legends.

(Originally published on Shockhound.com)