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Stunning and Masterful... - 100%

erickg13, July 31st, 2006

Soundgardens crown jewel, Superunknown, is not only their best album but possibly one of the greatest of its era. On Superunknown they perfectly make the sound they have been searching for since Ultramega OK and nearly found on BadMotorFinger. Most of the tracks on Superunknown are rock, but some contain an indefinable sound such as “Half”, while not losing any heaviness. It is truly one of the greatest complete pieces of work ever put together.

Superunknown starts off with the metallic “Let Me Drown”, which is a BadMotorFinger-esque, head-banger. The vocals on this track have an echo-ing effect, which is really cool! A great track to start off with.

Following is “My Wave”. “My Wave” is pop-punk-ish song that really could have been a single. It has radio play written all over it. It has a mostly straightforward rock sound, a rarity for Soundgarden.

Changing pace, “Fell on Black Days”, slows the tempo down. But it doesn’t ruin the flow of the album at all. It is comparatively slow and soft to some of Soundgardens other songs, not only on this album but overall. However it is menacingly heavy.

“Mailman” follows quite nicely after “Fell on Black Days”. It has a similar feel, it’s dark and menacing. Not a weak track by any means, but is not on the same level as some of the other songs on this album. Though has a pretty cool, distortion filled, guitar solo.

The title track (“Superunknown”, DUH!) is a very cool song that sounds like it could fit in perfectly on BadMotorFinger. Is more fast paced than most of the tracks on Superunknown.

Following is the majestic “Black Hole Sun”, which is amazing in all sense of the world. It encircles you and doesn’t let go. It’s no surprise that this song became a hit. Also, Kim Thayil has one of the coolest guitar solos of all-time.

The next track is the other radio hit, “Spoonman”. “Spoonman” defines originality; think about it, HOW MANY BANDS USED SPOONS IN A HIT SONG?!? The percussion part is really cool, shows the originality that Soundgarden possessed

“Limo Wreck” follows and once again the albums pace is changed, along with the mood. It is immensely heavy and the lyrics convey distinctly dark images.

“The Day I Tried to Live” is without much question about suicide. It is dark, heavy, and mildly remmeniscent of their early song “I Awake”. Ben Shepherd provides the driving, deep, bass line, which besides the early guitar chimes, is the riff.

Once again changing pace, “Kickstand” is a minute and a half, punk song. It is somewhat regressive from the rest of the album, though it fits fine.

“Fresh Tendrils” returns back to the slower nature of the rest of the album, and as with most of the other songs it is still no doubt heavy.

“4th of July” is a highly distorted, depressingly heavy song that seems to put its boot on your head on not let up. The vocals are nicely distorted, with both Chris Cornell singing lead and backup, along with Matt Cameron.

Next is “Half”, a which is distinctly Indian sounding. Also, Ben Shepherd provides vocals, guitar and bass on this track, albeit the vocals are highly distorted and barely recognizeable. In “Half” it seems as though Soundgarden has added a Sitar to their arsenal of instruments.

Wrapping the album up is “Like Suicide”, which is slow, like most of the rest of the album, but the slowness is lighter. Ironically, this version is not their best, the 12-string acoustic version on “Songs from the Superunknown” is better.

And for those lucky enough to pick up a copy with “She Likes Surprises” is an excellent song. For those of you not so luck it is available on “Songs from the Superunknown”.

In total, Soundgardens masterpiece “Superunknown” is full of originality. It is Soundgarden finally putting everything together and making something amazing. It is one of the few albums by an artist that can sum up their career as much as a “greatest hits/best of”. At 70 minutes it’s a long listen, but one of the reasons of its greatness is the fact that it is a complete album, not 2 or 3 hits and filler. This is not only a great album by its comteporaries standards, it trandscens that to become one of the best albums ever!

You must hear this for yourself!