Soundgarden
Badmotorfinger


5.0
classic

Review

by Travis Marmon USER (26 Reviews)
December 24th, 2009 | 18 replies | 6,098 views


Release Date: 1991 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Chris Cornell at his best; Soundgarden at their heaviest and most eclectic. A true titan of alternative rock and heavy music.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

It's baffling that Soundgarden doesn't get more consideration as possibly the best band of the 90's. I know that they're a member of the Seattle grunge scene's "big four," and everybody likes "Black Hole Sun," but let's look at the facts here: Soundgarden released two absolute musical beasts in the first half of the decade (this album and Superunknown), had arguably the greatest vocalist in rock history, and sounded like nothing made before or since. Yet they are the least talked-about of the big four. 1991's Badmotorfinger was the sound of a solid band coming into their own with unprecedented force.

Soundgarden is:

Chris Cornell - Vocals, rhythm guitar
Kim Thayil - Lead guitar
Ben Shepherd - Bass
Matt Cameron - Drums

The definitive element of Soundgarden's music was the voice of frontman Chris Cornell. On their first two albums, Ultramega OK and Louder Than Love, his delivery was powerful, but raw and unpolished. Here, he demonstrates incredible tone and an absurd vocal range. If you are new to Soundgarden, it is absolutely necessary that you listen to "Jesus Christ Pose" and "Slaves & Bulldozers." Not only are these two of the best and heaviest songs the band ever wrote, they are two of the most remarkable performances of Cornell's career. The former is a vicious assault on televangelists, with Cornell's angry lyrics screamed with utmost conviction over a repetitive bassline, chaotic riffs, and excellent drums. The latter is the band's heaviest song, and shows the full extent of Cornell's vocal range during the chorus. "Slaves" also has a crushing bassline and a true guitar freakout in the middle.

Guitarist Kim Thayil is a master of unconvential tunings and tones (for example, "Mind Riot" is tuned to CCCCCC). He can bring heavy riffs (see "Rusty Cage" and "Holy Water") and nice melodic lines ("Somewhere" and "Mind Riot"). His solos are expectedly unique and bring an interesting lead element to a band that is very strong rhythmically.

Bassist Ben Shepherd is not loud on record, but he brings a very thick tone and heavy groove to every song. Most of the band's metal elements are evident in his bass style, but he also can play higher, more melodic bass parts like on "Somwhere." Rhythm section partner Matt Cameron is a very talented drummer, but only plays fills when absolutely necessary. His timing and precision is perfect, and he is a good fit for any style of music. The only song where he really shows off, though, is "Jesus Christ Pose."

The band shows some diversity on their short, punkish numbers, such as the excellent "Face Pollution" and "Drawing Flies." Both of these songs feature sparse saxophone and Shepherd's most fun bass playing. These songs show off the bands ability to unleash raucous garage-band fury as a complement to their long metallic behemoths.

Badmotorfinger produced a few quality singles as well. Besides "Jesus Christ Pose," which I believe is the second-best song the band ever wrote, there was the hit "Outshined" and "Rusty Cage," which would be covered by Johnny Cash. Despite "Outshined" being one of Soundgarden's most famous songs, it is actually one of the weaker ones on the album. Although it does have a great chorus, the performance from everybody is not up to the standards set by most of the album cuts. Opener "Rusty Cage" is very upbeat for half of the song, before slowing down to a muddy Sabbathian riff that brings the listener back to their first two albums.

Although Badmotorfinger has taken a backseat in music history to it's poppier successor Superunknown, it is of equal if not better quality. This album and Temple of the Dog's self-titled are Cornell's ultimate performances, and it serves as a bridge between the riffy stoner rock/metal of their first two albums and the more radio-friendly and eclectic sound of their last two. This is a must-buy.



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user ratings (1366)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
HenchmanOfSanta
December 24th 2009



1649 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I know this has four reviews, but I don't think track-by-tracks do it justice. And the "conventional" review totally sucks.

Romulus
December 24th 2009



8371 Comments


Really good review. I love me some grunge but Soundgarden never did it for me outside of the obvious stuff. I'll give them another listen sooner or later.

EVedder27
December 24th 2009



6088 Comments


Nice job dude, I am actually long overdue in getting this. Superunknown is one of my all-time favorites so I'm sure I'll love this too.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
December 24th 2009



7234 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review, great album though I prefer Superunknown. Slaves And Bulldozers is probably my favourite Soundgarden song.

NebSnurb
December 24th 2009



535 Comments


Real good review. This has been my Soundgarden album of choice lately.

djNils
December 27th 2009



371 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

this is not music..

EVedder27
December 27th 2009



6088 Comments


as if you would know

djNils
December 27th 2009



371 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

what does that mean?..you havnt even rated this...

random
December 27th 2009



2243 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

What on earth do you mean, DjNils? Soundgarden actually have talent and Chris Cornell has an excellent voice. They are a great band!

NodScene23
March 9th 2010



247 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review, sir. I'm in agreement with everything here, as my review for this album reflected a lot of what you said here. I went track by track, but I enjoyed your review's analysis more.

tuefelwaffen
July 31st 2010



1 Comments


Inaccuracy 1- "Jesus Christ Pose" is critical about certain lead singers and thier Jesus-like posturing at the time before this song was released.

Inaccuracy 2- The song "Mind Riot" is not tuned to CCCCCC, but EEEEEE on the guitar.

YoYoMancuso
June 7th 2012



10108 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"besides "jesus christ pose", which i think was the second-best song the band ever wrote"

what do you think was the best?

YankeeDudel
June 7th 2012



9290 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I recommend smoking a blunt and listening to Searching With My Good Eye Closed, Room A Thousand Years Wide, and Mind Riot in succession.

Digging: Shape of Broad Minds - Craft of the Lost Art

YoYoMancuso
June 7th 2012



10108 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i think Like Suicide is a super underrated song by the band-the lyrics are so beautiful.

YoYoMancuso
June 7th 2012



10108 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

but off this album i have to say slaves & bulldozers is my favorite

HenchmanOfSanta
June 7th 2012



1649 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

what do you think was the best?
The Day I Tried to Live.


YoYoMancuso
June 10th 2012



10108 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yes i love that song

Inveigh
July 23rd 2013



24180 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

either this or Vs by Pearl Jam is the best grunge album ever

Digging: Symptom - Caverns Of Katabasis



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