Soundgarden - Live On I-5

A potent reminder of the power and sway the band had in their heyday.

Recorded at various shows 15 years ago, this new release by the recently reformed grunge giants Soundgarden is a potent reminder of the power and sway the band had in their heyday.

In an oddly retrospective fashion, there’s something hugely pleasing about hearing lead Chris Cornell’s voice fronting the band again. Whilst Audioslave had its great moments, Cornell’s hit-and-miss solo albums screamed for him to be part of something bigger again. News of the band’s reunion was consequently hugely exciting, but listening to the songs here, there’s also cause for concern.

As a stand alone album for long standing fans, this does a very functional job of going through some of the band’s greatest songs. There’s a reinvigorated rendition of ‘Spoonman’, a fittingly overblown version of ‘Jesus Christ Pose’ which finishes off the album in style, whilst classics like ‘Fell On Black Days’ and ‘Black Hole Sun’, done as a solo here, sound as good as they have ever done. Yet there are a few glaring omissions from the set list, where is ‘The Day I Tried To Live’ or ‘Blow Up The Outside World’? As a tool to reinvigorate long-term fan’s interest in the band, their absence is largely felt.

For anyone coming into the band for the first time though, there’s very little on offer for newcomers to relate to. The industry has changed a huge amount in the last 14 years since the band’s split, and tracks like ‘Searching With My Good Eye Closed’, now approaching two decades old, show their age when listened with today’s ears. It’s difficult to imagine the band’s new work will stray too far from what’s on show here on the album’s 17 tracks, but time will tell.

Tags: Soundgarden, Reviews, Album Reviews

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