Release Date: Nov 18, 2016
Record label: A&M
With their detuned guitars, plodding tempos, permanently downcast expressions, and hardware-store dress code, Soundgarden looked every bit the “grunge” part, at least on first glance. If your first introduction came, for instance, via the image of frontman Chris Cornell baring his chest on a dimly lit soundstage in the video for “Loud Love,” you could easily mistake Soundgarden for a bunch of oafs wading in the same tarpit where the brontosaur remains of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin lay fossilized. In fact, at points on their 1989 sophomore album/major-label debut Louder Than Love, Soundgarden came off as a ham-fisted Zep/Sabbath mashup.
Bigger and badder than ever, Soundgarden’s classic third album gets a multi-format facelift No one likes an anniversary more than the music industry, and this year is the 25th birthday of grunge, arguably the last great revolution in rock. Of course, the sound and style attributed to the Seattle scene had been bubbling under for several years, but 1991 is often taken as the moment when things reached critical mass and the world was forced to take notice in a paradigm-shifting way. Right up there with Nirvana’s Nevermind and Pearl Jam’s Ten was Soundgarden’s quantum leap into the big league, their third album and follow-up to Louder Than Love.
1991 wasn’t the year that punk broke—it was the year that ‘grunge’ became a catch-all term for just about any white dude group with distorted guitars. The year saw the release of many big-hitters in the genre, but they were all of a different influence. Whereas Nirvana’s Nevermind would lead it’s listeners to punk and ‘80s underground, Pearl Jam’s Ten led its listeners back to classic rock.