It’s been 16 years since Down on the Upside, and two since the Lollapalooza, but Soundgarden is at last fully back with new material. “Live to Rise” opens with a promising riff that harkens back to the glory days of Soundgarden with a touch of Black Sabbath, but it’s all a descent from there. Chris Cornell’s signature vocals have been entirely hit-or-miss in his solo adventures, and here it’s the latter as they grasp at the big chorus but return empty handed. More in line with the Superunknown and Down on the Upside poppier side of the band than their cock rock-mocking metal early days, “Live to Rise” is a transport back to the days of mid 90’s radio. However, instead of a true successor to “Blow Up The Outside World” or “Black Hole Sun”, “Rise” is akin to those nameless ghosts of post-grunge. Is “Live to Rise” a failed attempt at capturing lightning in a bottle, or is it a clever parody of the already-forgotten and will-inevitably-forget bands that litter the rest of the Avengers soundtrack? It’s a question that, like the legacy of Soundgarden as a whole, demands revisiting.
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