This was truly the album where Soundgarden found their sound and established themselves within the hard rock scene of the early 1990's. They were essential in constructing the "Seattle Sound" with their earlier releases, (Louder Than Love, Ultramega OK, etc.) but this is when their songwriting, focus, and overall vibe really took off. Every essential element of Soundgarden's identity and genre pushing sound is here in full force.
To the songs...
Rusty Cage- Great opener. Kim Thayil and Ben Shepherd really duke it out here, and Cornell alternates between his low hum and the piercing wail that we all know and love. Overall, outstanding bass, guitar, vocal, and drum work. Never misses a beat.
Outshined- A Cornell classic. Thayil's wobbly but heavy riff hits hard from the beginning and transitions nicely into the clean chords later. If there was a definitive song for Cornell's voice, this is it.
Slaves and Bulldozers- Always thought this was an underrated song on the album. Classic Thayil guitar dissonance, and Cornell really reaches down vocally. This song really defines the vibe of the album very well.
Jesus Christ Pose- Some of Cornell's most interesting lyrics, and quite possibly the most visionary song on the album. Extremely heavy and dissonant, but not without direction. The climax of the song results in one of Cornell's best screams, as well as a focused effort by the rest of the band. Blistering track.
Face Pollution- The ride does not end after the draining listen of JCP. Cornell kicks it off with a howl and the band is off and racing in a very punkish fashion. The sound is still extremely metallic, but the band greatly compresses their ambition into 2 and half minutes of adrenaline.
Somewhere- Not my favorite song on the album, but still strong. Cornell and Thayil keep it interesting enough throughout.
Searching With My Good Eye Closed- Interesting song. Thayil and Cornell showcase more of their classic trademarks here, especially towards the end. Thayil's winding solos please especially and Cornell displays his range greatly once again.
Room A Thousand Years Wide- Another underrated one. One of Thayil's heaviest riffs, and Cornell once again knows when to reach back and scream and when to float above the band's instrumental attack with his lower register. Another essential track for the Soundgarden "vibe."
Mind Riot- One of the forgotten Soundgarden greats. This song isn't as blistering as many of the others, but it's just as forceful and focused. Thayil adds in a lot of nice guitar fills here, and Cornell's vocals really soar over the main riff really well. An atmospheric track.
Drawing Flies- Another great rumbling riff from Thayil. More interesting lyrics from Cornell, and he really makes it interesting with his vocal rhythms. Ben Shepherd and Matt Cameron really hold this together rhythmically very well.
Holy Water- Along with New Damage, this is one of the heavier songs on the album. Cornell's vocals and Thayil's guitar lines once again blend together seamlessly. Cornell's great ear for music are apparent throughout, as he alternates his vocal approach to fit the different moods of the song.
New Damage- Songs like this make one wonder how this album got mainstream accessibility. Thayil brings out some of the heaviest, most dissonant, most metallic sounds he has ever produced. Cornell doesn't hold back much here, and absolutely peels the paint off the walls towards the end of the song. Excellent.
This is my first review, but I wanted to write it about Badmotorfinger because it is one of my favorite albums and a landmark one from its era. I think its greatness stems from its one of a kind vibe and the fact that Cornell and Co. created such a cohesion of tonalities without it ever getting same sounding. There is a distinct and original vibe here, and that ain't easy to pull off. Throw in the great songwriting and focus, and you have a Soundgarden and 90's classic.