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Screaming Life/Fopp

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Average Rating
★★★★½
(24 Reviews)

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  • People heap a lot of manure on early Soundgarden, and for me it isn’t justified. The music in real need of a good kick up the proverbial is that of the Pixies and more significantly Nirvana, who only really acheived cult status because of the never the less tragic death of Kurt Cobain. For a debut EP, as the cliche goes, this really isn’t all that bad. To someone elses ears, I hope. But to me, it is absolutely amazing. Soundgarden were obviously four men with a lot of anger inside them, and they really let it out, allowing for the darker, brooding yet equally great work on UltraMegaOK. From the pounding distortion of Hunted Down, onto the frenetic, blistering punk of Entering and Tears to Forget, the first three songs of Screaming Life allow Soundgarden to get a lot of their stomachs, whether it be in Cornells raging but coherent lyrics, Thayils aggressive but dexterous guitar work, or Camerons powerful and inventive drumming. Then comes the atmospheric heaviness of Nothing to Say, and one of the most interesting rhythms I’ve ever come across as a drummer, combined with the intricate guitar solo and almost narrative vocal style of Little Joe. The frenetic and scratchy rhythmic guitar and lyrics of Hand of God bring the first EP to a regrettable end, as then three cover versions overshadow the twisty pyscho-delia of Kingdom of Come.Some may critise the lack of variety of this album, but surely when you compare it to ‘Nu Metal’ you have to admit that at least Soundgarden displayed genuine attitude and defiance, and the lyrics are cerebral at the same time as being angry. What it may lack in melodic structure, it makes up for in atmosphere, and you can hardly claim that Soundgarden were just a mere 4 chord band.

    Posted on December 18, 2009