249: SOUNDGARDEN

One of true legendary bands of the Seattle grunge scene, Soundgarden returned after 13 years and immediately reclaimed their position as one of the greatest rock bands on the planet.

When Soundgarden first came onto the scene in the mid-eighties, their refreshing sound was described by Sub Pop as a fusion of Led Zeppelin and the Butthole Surfers. Little did anyone know at the time, this sound would lead them to being one of the pioneers of the grunge movement. With their sound often growing and evolving, Soundgarden would oftentimes be one of the heaviest grunge bands, with a sound veering into alt metal territory.

While a lot grunge bands grew from punk roots, with a raw and simpler sound at the heart of their compositions, Soundgarden would often utilise complex time signatures and alternative tunings, further strengthening their metal similarities.

Another strength of Soundgarden was the obvious one. Vocalist Chris Cornell was probably one of the greatest rock singers in history, and his iconic voice is simply unrivalled.

After skyrocketing fame in the mid-nineties, increasing tension within the band led to their breakup in 1997. The members all went on to other projects and moved on with their lives.

But in 2010, after 13 years, Soundgarden returned. They played shows to adoring fans and reminded everyone just how incredible they were. Then in 2012, 16 years since โ€˜Down on the Upsideโ€™, Soundgarden released their sixth album, โ€˜King Animalโ€™.

The album was well received by critics and fans and Soundgarden embarked on a world tour in support of it. At this point they were one of the biggest rock bands on the planet.

Unfortunately this second era of Soundgarden came to a sad end, for reasons we all know and still mourn. But Soundgarden still leave behind not one, but two legacies – as one of the pioneers of grunge and incredible band of the times, and as a band who came back after thirteen years and immediately reclaimed the throne.

Itโ€™s as though we had just been waiting, and they picked right up where they left off.

Rest In Peace, Chris Cornell.

Long live Soundgarden.