Review Summary: One day driving home from work, some dude with a BAD haircut, drove by you with a crappy MOTOR, and gave you the FINGER.. If that brought you here, I'm sorry to inform you this review has nothing to do with that particular experience.Badmotor Lineup
Chris Cornell… Vocals/Guitar
Kim Thayil… Lead Guitar
Ben Shepard… Bass
Matt Cameron… Drums
The band Soundgarden are known as pioneers of the grunge movement in the early 90's. However they started jamming in 1984. Four years later, they release two albums, Ultramega OK
in 88' and Louder Than Love
in 89'. Each album showcased the band differently. Most of Ultramega OK
sounded as if the Stooges carried heavy guitars. Tracks like "Flower" and "Beyond the Wheel" showed a glimpse of what Soundgarden would later become. Louder Than Love
sounded distinctly different from its predecessor, sounding closer to Black Sabbath. Soundgarden's sophomore album came with no slump and showed an improvement in their ability to create quality rock songs. By 1991 "Grunge" goes full blown with Nirvana leading the charge with the much-hyped Nevermind
. That same year, Soundgarden released Badmotorfinger
is essentially Soundgarden's breakthrough album. It reaches platinum, MTV plays "Outshined", sales increase. The success of Badmotorfinger
's reception is in part because of two reasons. One, Cornell's songwriting improved. And two, the the sound quality improved.
Even though no two Soundgarden albums sound alike, Louder Than Love
are their heaviest. So what distinguishes Badmotorfinger
? Well just as the band progressed with Louder Than Love
, they took another step forward with Badmotorfinger
. Aside from the album closer, this album has virtually no filler. B-side tracks don't find a place on this album. It's that solid.
Cornell's writing become a strength for the band. Whereas before, it was mostly an ankle weight. "Drawing Flies" is an example of Soundgarden's more peculiar and yet brilliant lyrics. On it, he is tells about his hardships in writing, but his words paints quite a picture. "Outshined" has the most memorable lyric on the album with "I'm looking California, but feeling Minnesota". The chorus line is also arguably Soundgarden's grooviest moment, "Show me the power child. I'd like to say, that I'm down on my knees today." In contrast, "Holy Water"'s "As I'm raped by another monkey circus freak" is one of the band's more disturbing moments. Cornell's lyrics aren't the his only improvement though, his wailing technique is perfected here. Where on previous albums Chris' wailing was more of a distraction to the music, now it's a nice addition. Look to "Slaves and Bulldozers" as a prime example, this track contains some of his most powerful notes.
In comparison to previous albums, Thayil's guitar becomes less complex, in a good way. There isn't a definitive guitar solo on Badmotorfinger
like those found on Love
. "Gun" and "Full On Kevin's Mom" come to mind. Thayil still delivers the goods though with memorable riffs and more diverted guitar leads. The main riff on "Jesus Christ Pose" tears silence like a helicopter. Another example would have to be "Outshined". The chorus riff to this song screams baddass. Overall, this track has the best guitar work and closest thing to a guitar solo. "Rusty Cage"'s frantic playing is another highlight. The intro introduced the CD well, preparing listeners for the grittiness they're about to experience. Shepard's involvement on this track is noticeable, as his bass deviates from the rhythm guitar frequently.
Because there are more quality songs, and less filler, some tracks get overlooked. "Holy Water" has great lyrics, taking a shot at organized religion. It has a nice riff and a neat twelve second guitar solo. "Drawing Flies" is another underrated track due to its shortness, clocking in at 2:27. Along with the insane lyrics, there's great drum-work here. "Mind Riot" has haunting riffs, like those out of "Louder Than Love", and is possibly the most overlooked song on this album. "Somewhere" would be the best track on the album if it had a better intro, and ended when it should had (3:30/4:21).
As far as drawing comparisons to other artists, "Searching With My Good Eye Closed" is the Sabbath-like on song here. Its features that signature slow-and-heavy riff delivery. Meanwhile, "Face Pollution" is reminiscent of Melvins' early work (Gluey Porch Treatments
through Stoner Witch
As stated earlier, the only skippable track is the closer. "New Damage" is quite repetitive with Chris singing "Get out before you drown", leaving listeners preferring to drown than listen to another two minutes of this track... The guitar leads toward the end doesn't help either. I don't know what exactly Thayil was aiming for, but it just becomes a sloppy end to album. Soundgarden learns from their mistake though. The next two album closers are some of their more brilliant moments.
- Outshined, Drawing Flies, Jesus Christ Pose, Somewhere