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SG's shining moment!!! - 95%

WitheringToSerenity, March 16th, 2004

After the release of the classic Badmotorfinger, Soundgarden had the unenviable task of trying to make an album that could possibly match or even top it and they have done just that. Once again, the strength of the album lies within Chris Cornell's stellar singing. Very possibly his best effort, although every album since Badmotorfinger Cornell has possessed vocals many vocalists could only dream of matching. One thing that leads me to believe this as one of the most impressive grunge/metal albums of all is how catchy and consistent the entire album is. From Let Me Drown all the way to Like Suicide this album is filled with tons of memorable hooks although not quite as flashy as some of their previous material ( ala Jesus Christ Pose).

For metal standards, the rhythm guitar is quite simplified, but heavy and catchy. They have played more complex riffs on previous albums but none really come close to this effort. You could almost call it a stoner groove at times although their is more than enough variety of styles blended to make this CD not sound like the same song repeated (ie Kickstand, Fell on Black Days, 4th of July, My Wave). Kim Thayil's lead work is once again top notch, the best grunge/metal guitarist many will never know about. Most metal fans would probably laugh at this drumming although for the scene, Matt Cameron was more than a competent drummer. Overly complex drumming is not necessary for this style of music anyways. Bass work is decent but not that impressive, just like almost every other album in existence! The strength of the album lies in Chris Cornell's amazing vocals and Thayil's solo's. Without either, it doesn't feel the same (see Audioslave).

It feels criminal giving standout tracks because after a few listens because you'll notice the vast majority of the song's on this CD are very well done! Highlights include Fell On Black Days (one of their most melodic, emotional and beautiful songs ever), Black Hole Sun (If I have to explain this undeniable classic, you need to hear more music :P ), The Day I Tried To Live(one of the most memorable intros and choruses on the album) , 4th of July (fans of doom or heavy riffs must hear this keeper), Like Suicide (vintage Cornell, all that needs to be said). Then I'm leaving out My Wave, Spoonman, Kickstand, title track etc... too much impressive work on here. I consider this to easily be a top 2 grunge/metal album and one of the most impressive releases of the 90's! Do yourself a favor and check this album out if ya havent already!!!