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"Black Rain"

[A&M; 2010]

By ; October 7, 2010 

Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOG

Soundgarden -one of the defining bands of the grunge era- are finally back, but they’ve been keeping busy in the meantime. Chris Cornell’s hook up with ¾ of another iconic group of the ‘90s was a project with a frightening number of possibilities; and though Audioslave’s mediocre output failed to recapture Soundgarden’s magic circa ‘94, it proved Cornell still had something left to offer as a songwriter. After last year’s lugubrious Scream he’s back with his old mates, and the initial results are middling.

Their comeback single is “Black Rain,” an outtake from their Badmotorfinger sessions. Whether they weren’t up for recording or just really eager to let this song finally see the light of day, it’s a rather anachronistic way for a band of Soundgarden’s eminence to make a return. Despite providing plenty of old school grit, their guitar work is devoid of a central hook and does nothing to differentiate itself from the countless bands that have since attempted to take up their mantle. The power of Cornell’s voice commands your attention, but he doesn’t end up having much to say. The song simultaneously manages to be too much and not enough. It’s not the return it could have been, but it’s so great to see these guys back together that it’s hard not to get a bit nostalgic and enjoy it on some level.

[From the compilation album Telephantasm, out now via A&M]


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