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Showing 1-10 of 294 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 421 reviews
on November 25, 2012
Wow, this is a great album, but I didn't know it for probably fifteen listens. That's when the subtle, understated nature of the melodies in the songs had sunk in, and I understood what I was listening to. THERE ARE NO CATCHY SONGS, other than maybe "Bones of Birds", in my opinion, but this is an album I will be listening to for a long, long time. This album seems like the natural progression of an older, wiser Soundgarden. The pace is a little less frenetic. No "Never The Machine Forever" here. My favorite Soundgarden album is "DOTU" and this album is like that, without the wonky interludes that SG placed in most DOTU songs. This album is very fluid. In particular, the drums and bass are excellent. The guitar is solid, but not noisy for the sake of being noisy. Cornell's vox are spot on. He's about fifty, and his voice sounds better than Robert Plant's at the same age. Out of thirteen songs, I love nine, and the other ones are good. Signed, a Soundgarden fan since 1988.
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on March 24, 2013
This is a great record. It cannot be more plainly stated. I realize that there are some disappointed long time fans who do not feel that this record is as good Soundgarden may have seemed in the 1990s. However, nostalgia can cloud our vision. I went through a similar ambivalence when Jane's Addiction released "Strays" in '04. It seemed something was lost. And it may very well have been. However, compared to the mass majority of crap produced by our illustrious corporate overlords this record is amazing. In many ways I like this record better than Soundgarden in their heyday for the simple reason that it sounds more mature. Chris Cornell's voice is incredible. The songs are still thick walls of sound that wash over the ears. "Been Away Too Long" opens the record. Initially it seems a simple and straight forward song atypical to Soundgarden but the layering is solid, the arrangement is surprising, the song picks up incredible momentum, and "King Animal" never looks backs. "By Crooked Steps" starts out with a, choppy groove but the effects on Cornell's voice are incredible and pulls what could easily be a chaotic song into something sublime. The out of place "Halfway There" is another one of the highlights and sounds more like solo Cornell tune than a Soundgarden song. The demo version is even more intriguing. In all this is a great return from Soundgarden and is undeserving of some of the vicious criticisms it faces from supposed diehard fans. I recommend the deluxe versions of this album as the demos are excellent takes and feel in no way repetitive.
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on December 7, 2012
If you liked the direction Soundgarden went in with Down on the Upside, you will definitely enjoy this album. No, it's not as dark or heavy as their earlier works, but that's not to say that it doesn't feel very organically like a Soundgarden album (and I do own and listen to all their previous albums). King Animal feels like the work of a band that still has great ideas musically but has also matured significantly in the sixteen years since they last put out an album.

The classic elements are all there musically and lyrically, but it's striking to me what a difference in tone there is on the new album. Even at their most aggressive -- for example, on the somewhat political track 'Non-State Actor' -- it's hard not to get a sense of hopefulness from the lyrics and music -- and much of the rest of the album is like this. 'Bones of Birds' is on the surface a very dark song (with a catchy chorus, by the way), but it's also clear they are writing about family and the fears of trying to raise one, and it's expressed beautifully. This is a song that the 20-something, sarcastic, angst-ridden, substance-abusing kids who wrote Badmotorfinger probably couldn't have written. The converse of that, of course, is that we probably won't get another 'Rusty Cage' from middle-aged Soundgarden, but that matters little if the music is still good, and it is.

So despite the rather audacious tone of the album's first track (which initially turned me off, though it's grown on me), King Animal is not really a "comeback" album in the sense that they're clearly not trying to recapture some past glory (or past image of themselves) a la Metallica with Death Magnetic, or countless other such albums from older acts. Rather, King Animal sounds like Soundgarden pretty unassumingly picked up where they left off after Down on the Upside -- still Soundgarden, only aged like a fine wine.
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on December 26, 2012
Chris Cornell shouts he's "Been Away Too Long" on the opening track of this amazing reunion album and I couldn't agree more. Hearing Soundgarden was back together sounded like a dream come true - fortunately the album does too. I've seen people say everything from "awesome" to "sounds like 'Down on the Upside.'" The indictment that Soundgarden sounds like they are picking up where they left off is not a criticism at all. For me, it's the greatest compliment possible that after over a decade of being apart, they have come back together as the solid rock machine they were through the 90s. They are titans in the same league as rock legends Led Zeppelin in my book, and they continue to hold that spot now. Cornell's voice is still outstanding. Thayil is still a guitar wizard. Matt Cameron still knows how to bring it on drums. Ben Shepherd is...wow...this guy just is an integral part of the sound, and he has not lost his touch either. Standout tracks...well, first let me say there is not a single throw away track on this masterpiece. Favs are "Non-State Actor", "Blood on the Valley Floor", "Bones of Birds" and "Taree." However, I could list every track. They are all 4s and 5s. Right now at this moment, the album is only $3.99 for download - how can you pass it up? Best money I've spent all year for what could be THE rock album of 2012.
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on November 29, 2012
Absolutely Love this band and I am sooo happy they are back together, recording, and sounding fantastic. Just like hooking up with an old dear friend that you haven't seen in a while. Taking the time to get caught up.

Won't go into the individual songs. You will get that from other reviews. Just know if you are a fan of what they are capable of you will LOVE this album. Amazing voice and lyrics. (DUH!) Song arrangements and individual performances. The sound itself produced VERY well. And of course...Their incredible ability to get you tapping your foot to an odd time signature, before you realize it's NOT 4-4! If you are a fan you know what I mean!

This review is obviously for the true fans. BUY IT! You won't regret it! If you are not so big a fan, or on the fence...All the more reason to buy it! Listen and realize what a talented rock band can do!

They ARE the contemporary Led Zeppelin in my humble opinion!
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on February 1, 2013
I readily admit I was probably hoping for something along the lines of a mix of Down on the Upside and Superunknown and so the new release didn't grab me right away, but it's only taken a couple of passes through all of it to settle in and enjoy. Of course it's not going to be the same stuff! Silly to even think so. It's got its own rawness, though it is definitely polished. It has plenty of power and can handily annoy your neighbors should you wish to do so. The pipes you know are in no way diminished and the instruments are just as active and deftly handled. My own personal taste (and that's what a review is about, to some extent) would have liked to hear an acoustic tune or two - I think the band has more agility to show off and I have no doubt they've got some great tunes already written as acoustic performances. Still, this is satisfying.
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on December 10, 2012
Having been a Soundgarden fan since early high school, I wasn't sure what to expect from their comeback album, the first in 16 long years. Not only has technology, the bandmembers' age, and MTV changed; the musical landscape itself has transformed tremendously since the mid '90s. The fading grunge scene has all but died, paving the way for countless uninspired bands like some kind of cruel slash-and-burn cycle that began with a beautiful forest but ended with an ugly cold jungle. However, in the midst of said forest, there has always been a garden. Sometimes serene, sometimes abrasive, sometimes not even appearing at all, this garden is more or less the genesis AND revelation of alternative heaviness. Obviously, this palindromic force is Soundgarden. Reforming in 2010 with a new compilation album, their reunion generated a lot of feedback, but the "new" songs on the album didn't really generate much buzz. Likewise, their song for the "AVENGERS" soundtrack was fair as a standalone rock song, but absolutely stale and generic for a band with such unprecedented power and unpredictability. Was Soundgarden still able to kindle the fire they'd created long ago? I treaded cautiously but enthusiastically while preparing for their comeback album....

The lead single, "Been Away Too Long," makes a LOT of sense. Perhaps too much, as it almost seems like a blatant marketing attempt to get everyone charged up with a kick-ass rock song that disguises an album that may otherwise not be representative of Soundgarden's uncompromising sound. Thankfully, that notion is false. In fact, "Been Away Too Long" is one of the lesser tracks on the album. "Non-State Actor" has a funky drive and a hell of a lot of attitude, and in my opinion, it's the REAL album opener. "By Crooked Steps" introduces Open-D (DADF#AD) tuning to their sonic catalog, with superb results. It has an almost dissonant time signature, but with repeated listens, it becomes apparent that it's subtly fantastic work- much like the album itself. Then there's the album's absolute masterpiece- "A Thousand Days Before." It begins with a serene, meditative guitar riff that'll make you crank the volume until a surprise ditty makes you jump out of your seat (it happened to me). An almost wistful track, the song will make you feel romantic, reminiscent, and powerful at the same time, as Chris sings, "Here in the cold, where no one stands beside me/ I'll be on my own side, you know where to find me..." It's an anthem for the loner in all of us. Other highlights include the creeping "Blood on the Valley Floor"(with a riff that's cerebral and slugging), the eerily mortal "Bones of Birds"(with an anthemic chorus reminiscent of "Blow up the Outside World"), the folky "Black Saturday," and the epic "Rowing," the album's closing song that manages to be simultaneously soothing, unsettling, and leaving the listener thirsty for more.

All in all, this is an album that takes TIME to grown on the listener. It lacks the hooks of their previous albums, including Down on the Upside, but you know what? This album is more rewarding, more precise, and more confident than ANY grunge album released since Screaming Trees' 1996 opus, "Dust". Listen for yourself. It may take weeks, months, years to fully comprehend this album. In a sense, that makes the listener hope that the sheer mystery of this release will never dissipate.

Final Score: 8.1/10
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on December 16, 2014
I know a lot of people compare this album to "old" Soundgarden, and it's definitely different from some of the other albums. There is no doubt, though, that this is still Soundgarden. Much like their sound evolved through "Ultramega OK" and "Louder Than Love" to "Badmotorfinger" and "Superunknown" and even further to "Down on the Upside," Soundgarden has further refined their style with "King Animal. "
I was a little nervous about the album at first, so I tested out some of the songs via YouTube. I liked what I heard, so I got the whole album and listen to it a lot.
Don't expect "Louder Than Love," but don't sell Soundgarden short. They still have it.
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on November 24, 2012
If you are not sure about buying this record, let me assure you, as a fan, you will not be dissapointed with this record. This is Soundgarden! Not Soundgarden 2.0, this is the Soundgarden, the band you remembered and loved, but better. Is this possible? What has it been 15 years since "Down on the Upside"? The songs show a maturity that only, well, maturity can create. These are fully realized, well written songs. All four members were involved in the song writing process, so this is not a Chris Cornell record at all. Favorite tracks for me are: Taree, Rowing, Black Saturday and Non-State Actor. Do yourselves a favor and buy this record, you will love it. I paid 3.99$ for it, such a deal!
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on July 20, 2017
I finally decided to get this album on vinyl, to complete the Soundgarden wing of the library. I love all of Soundgarden's outlet, but this album lacks a 'grabber' track, so to speak, hence the four star rating. Great album for die-hard SG fans.
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