King Animal



by slagun USER (2 Reviews)
November 9th, 2012 | 8 replies

Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: After 16 years we finally have a new Soundgarden album, an album for which every Soundgarden fan has hoped for.

Over one and a half decades is a lot of time for a band to stay apart. Many changes might occur, changes which often wouldn't be considered the good kind, changes which might make you ask yourself: 'Why do these guys even bother playing anymore"'. Well fear no more, this is NOT the case with Soundgarden.

Most of the songs off King Animal could have easily been recorded in the 90s and we wouldn't know. You can experience the feel of Louder Than Love with energy from Badmotorfinger and great song writing from Superunknown and Down on The Upside. However these guys are not at all repetitive and throw some unique new techniques which easily stand up to the ones from previous albums.

The instrumental side of the album is as good as ever, maybe even better. While Chris's vocals make you wonder: 'Is that guy really 48""' The messed up time signatures are present, Matt's amazing drumming and Kim's heavy, dark and haunting riffs did not disappear either.

Now to the track-by-track reviews:

Been Away Too Long: First single off the album, not everybody was too crazy about it. Why" Without a doubt it is a good song, however for Soundgarden standards average seems to be a better description. Crunchy riffs and powerful vocals however nothing mind blowing when it comes to vocal melodies. The bridge is surely the best part of the song and it is that part that makes you want to come back to this song. 6/10

Non-State Actor: Really groovy song, slightly punky even. Kim's riffs don’t disappoint while Chris's singing in the verses really keeps the song melodic and interesting. Overall it’s a really cool of mix of some sweet riffs. 7/10

By Crooked Steps: Great Badmotorfinger feel to it, a lot of energy. A nice heavy riff and really contrasting vocals which make the song one of the better on the album, not much else I can say, absolute must-listen-to. 10/10

A Thousand Days Before: A really appealing instrumental intro, a soft guitar which goes into a classic Soundgarden riff. A song which really well contributes to the record, it builds up into kind of a chorus towards the end which is a really good and rewarding ending. 8/10

Blood on The Valley Floor: An amazing dark and heavy riff throughout the song, powerful vocals. This is typical Soundgarden nothing more nothing less. The guitar parts just want to make you bang you head, great listen. 9/10

Bones Of Birds: A beautiful song with great lyrics about parenthood from Cornell. A haunting guitar part throughout the song, containing great vocals and a lot of emotion. Towards the end of the song Kim makes his guitar sound like a bunch of birds squealing. Overall this is without a doubt one of the best songs on this album, maybe even in Soundgarden’s career. 10/10

Taree: This one is a bluesy one. It was written back in the 90s before the band broke up, well we can be thankful they decided to record it and put it here. Interesting vocals throughout the song, definitely something to come back to. 8/10

Attrition: Really up-beat song, really cool melodies. Reminds me of ‘Kickstand’ from Superunknown. Some might consider it a filler track but I think it easily deserves a place on this record. 7/10

Black Saturday: Now here it starts to get really interesting, acoustic even slightly experimental but how greatly performed. The verses are mind blowing and the choruses are not any worse. There is a really sudden transition to a really psychedelic solo, unexpected but not at all in a bad way. Instrumentally this song is one of Soundgarden’s best. 9/10

Halfway There: Another acoustic, unfortunately it doesn’t even come close to the previous one. This is the weakest point of the album. This sounds more like Chris’s solo work than anything else. Catchy" Yes, but maybe not in the way we would want it. 4/10

Worse Dreams: If I was to describe this song in one word it would have to be ‘messed up’, of course in the best way possible. It starts off with a really catchy bass riff which straight away makes you think ‘something good is gonna come out of this’. And most certainly it does. We have everything we could want from Soundgarden here; great choruses, sick bass and guitar riffs, messed up time signatures, screaming and crazy drumming. 9/10

Eyelid’s Mouth: Another typical Soundgarden sounding song, once again this could have been on Badmotorfinger and would not at all be out of place. Bass riff starts off then guitars join in vocals are great throughout the whole track but what really sticks is the chorus; ‘Who let the water run down"’ Once heard will stay with you. 9/10

Rowing: Truly experimental song, some really good bass riffs accompanied by interesting vocals, it gets even better towards the end, once again this is a song to which you simply cannot listen to just once, it will haunt you until you listen to it again. 8/10

Overall I was really impressed with the whole album, these guys have certainly been away for too long, but maybe that’s what made them sound the way they do. There are really few weak points on the album which is great. King Animal is exactly what any Soundgarden could hope for after a 16 year break.

Recommended track (almost all but a few really stand out):
By Crooked Steps
Blood On the Valley Floor
Bones of Birds
Black Saturday
Eyelid’s Mouth

user ratings (691)
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • HenchmanOfSanta (4)
    Though not a classic, Soundgarden have produced a surprisingly solid comeback...

    Happy2review (4.5)

    donovan909 (3)
    Soundgarden returns with an album that should please fans but not likely to win over any n...

    Spoonman67 (3.5)
    This is an album I really like but not the best I´ve ever heard by these guys....

  • jamiecoughlan (4)
    A worthy return that flies in the face of expectations...

    FCY (4.5)
    'King Animal' is a modern take on vintage rock and a natural progression for Soundgarden, ...

    Limberg (4.5)
    Soundgarden have a strong musical legacy, one that fans were afraid could have been tarnis...

Comments:Add a Comment 
November 8th 2012


Album Rating: 3.5

First review, so please be understanding :D

November 8th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Good job for your first review. I used to write Track by Track reviews a lot, but I think there's just as much success in reviews that simply summarize it more. But that's really your choice, not mine. Did a nice job with the tbt section. Have a POS.

November 9th 2012


Album Rating: 4.5

Good stuff, but I think you should veer away from the use of 'I' in reviews, and keep them entirely in third person. Refer to the album, but don't refer to yourself - it's unnecessary. As an example, instead of saying " Reminds me of ‘Kickstand’ from Superunknown. Some might consider it a filler track but I think it easily deserves a place on this record." you could say, "The track is certainly reminiscent of Kickstand, and although some may consider it filler, it fits well in the context of the album and doesn't disrupt the flow by any means."

As well as that, Sputnik generally looks down upon and discourages track by track review. Have a read of others' reviews to get a general idea of the accepted format on the site. Hope this helped.

November 9th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

it took a few listens. but its slowly growing on me. Yes, I am one of those "fan boys" that had expectations that were too high for a 48 year old. Chris sounded a bit tired, but i believe his place as best rock vocalist next to robert plant still remains.

November 9th 2012


Good first review. The only part that threw me off a little was the first paragraph, which is slightly ambiguous. Presumably the changes you're talking about are changes to the band's sound, but that doesn't quite register on the first read through. Specifically mention the sound, and the paragraph will flow more smoothly.

Otherwise, well done. You did a great job of describing the songs.

Album sounds awesome, can't wait to get my hands on it.

November 10th 2012


The lead single left a sour taste in my mouth. Hopefully this review is right.

November 11th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah don't judge the album on Been Away Too Long, it really is one of the weakest songs off it. Musically, lyrically and even vocally Soundgarden have done an impressive job of recapturing all that made them one of the best bands of the era.

November 11th 2012


Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah this is actually awesome

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