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Soundgarden is a SeattleGrunge/Alternative Metal band formed in The Eighties and popular in The Nineties. Their name comes from a sculpture in Seattle, "A Sound Garden". The band was recognized as one of The Big Four of Grunge (along with Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Alice in Chains), though they didn't become successful until the genre fully took off with the release of Nirvana's Nevermind and Pearl Jam's Ten. Their 1994 album Superunknown is considered a masterpiece of the movement. Their music is largely characterised by Epic Riffs, Chris Cornell's distinctive voice, and common use of Uncommon Time, producing a sound many reviewers have described as being Led ZeppelinmeetsBlack Sabbath.The group broke up in 1997 due to internal conflict, leaving Cornell to form the super groupAudioslave with the former members of Rage Against the Machine, and later a solo career with polarizing results. Cornell also co-wrote You Know My Name with David Arnold for the James Bond film Casino Royale. He's also headed in a more pop/hip-hop-oriented direction recently, causing much backlash among the fanbase. Cameron currently drums for Pearl Jam, and has since the Yield tour (he wasn't involved with the Temple of the Dog reunion mentioned below). Thayil played with Jello Biafra and Krist Novoselic as the "No WTO Combo" after the Seattle riots of November 1999, and has contributed to Dave Grohl's side-project Probot.In January 2010, Cornell announced through his website that "The Knights of the Sound Table ride again". The band officially reunited in 2012. A new song, "Live to Rise," played during the end credits of The Avengers. In addition, their first new album since their breakup, King Animal was released in November 2012.
Chris Cornell: Vocals; previously played drums until the band hired Scott Sundquist to play drums, allowing him to focus on just singing. He also contributed rhythm guitar to their songs later.
Kim Thayil: Lead Guitar
Ben Shepherd: Bass; replaced Hiro Yamamoto in 1989.
Matt Cameron: Drums; replaced Sundquist.
Screaming Life EP (1987)
Fopp EP (1987)
These two were later compiled into Screaming Life/Fopp in 1990.
Ultramega OK (1988), the debut they weren't very happy with, thanks to recording outside of Seattle with an outside producer (Drew Canulette) instead of Jack Endino (famous for working with every grunge band, ever, at the start).
Cornell: With Ultramega OK we really liked the songs on that record but we were disappointed in the production.
Louder Than Love (1989), a somewhat less stressful recording in spite of Hiro Yamamoto's isolation and eventual departure. Received good reviews but sank on the charts due to distribution problems and Moral Guardians throwing a hissy fit over "Big Dumb Sex" and slapping it with a Parental Advisory sticker. This and their next album were produced by Terry Date.
Loudest Love EP (1990)
Badmotorfinger (1991), marks the debut of Shepherd and is their first really successful album thanks to being synchronized with the Grunge explosion of the same year.
Satanoscillatemymetallicsonatas (1992), released as a special edition second disc of Badmotorfinger sold only during Lollapalooza tour, 1992.
Superunknown (1994), the band's breakthrough and biggest success, going straight to #1 on the charts. Contains their biggest hits "Black Hole Sun" and "Spoonman". Cornell didn't like working with producer Michael Beinhorn because of his obsession with capturing the perfect sounds (commenting that by the time they had recorded a song they'd already rehearsed it to death), but admitted the sound created by him and engineer Brendan O'Brien played a part in the album's success.
Songs From the Superunknown EP (1995)
Down on the Upside (1996), their last pre-breakup album. This time Soundgarden opted to self-produce to avoid the tediously slow frustration of Superunknown. It didn't have anywhere near the same impact as their predecessor but was reasonably well-received.
A-sides (1997), a greatest hits album rushed out after the band disbanded.
Telephantasm (2010), another greatest hits album, including some unreleased songs. The two-disc version features all of their videos.
Live on I-5 (2011), a collection of live tracks from a 1996 tour, and a few covers.
King Animal (2012), the first since the band's reformation.
I Read That As: Superunknown's title came from Cornell misreading a VHS cover titled "Superclown".
Long Runner Line Up: Even if the band is not so active nowadays given Chris and Matt have busy side projects, the current quartet completed 10 years together: 1990 (Matt joined) to 1997 (breakup) and since 2010.
Loudness War: Averted with the recordings released during their first incarnation, but sadly King Animal falls prey to this.
Mercy Kill: "Like Suicide". Chris Cornell wrote the lyrics based on an incident where a bird flew into his house's window and was severely injured, and he killed it with a brick to end its suffering.
Metal Scream: Cornell, in his prime, had a four-octave range, making him one of the most versatile singers in rock music. One of these abilities was his famous belting-style choruses.
"Save me... with your HA-A-A-A-ANDS!"
His roar at the end of "Jesus Christ Pose" and the prechoruses and choruses of "Slaves and Bulldozers" have to be heard to be believed.
Let's also not overlook the verses of "Superunknown".
"If this isn't making SEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEENNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNSE, that doesn't make it LIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSS"
Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Generally a 5 ("Head Down") to 6 ("Let Me Drown", "My Wave"). "Black Hole Sun" is arguably a (high) 3. A few other tracks like "Jesus Christ Pose" and "4th of July" arguably reach an 8.
Murder Ballad: "Burden in My Hand" is one about a man killing his former lover in the desert (but with some regret)
New Sound Album: With Superunknown, the band took on more psychedelic influences and a more accessible sound.
Title Track: Superunknown is the only straight example. The nearest is "Loud Love" from Louder Than Love.
Uncommon Time: The band claims that most of their examples of this ("Rusty Cage", "Spoonman", etc. etc. etc.) were actually accidental — for example, they didn't realize that the verses in "Spoonman" were in 7/4 until they were done writing the song. The explanation was that they just went along with Cameron's grooves without consciously thinking about what time signatures they were in.
Walking Shirtless Scene: Prior to Superunknown, Cornell frequently went shirtless or with an open button-down shirt.