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Down On the Upside

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Album Review

Superunknown was a breakthrough in many ways. Not only did the album bring Soundgarden a new audience, it dramatically expanded their vision, as well as their accomplishments. If Down on the Upside initially seems a retreat from the grand, layered textures of Superunknown, let it sink in. The sound of Down on the Upside is certainly more immediate, but the band hasn't returned to the monstrous, unfocused wailing of Louder Than Love. Instead, they've retained their ambitious song structures, neo-psychedelic guitar textures, and winding melodies but haven't dressed them up with detailed production. Consequently, Down on the Upside is visceral as well as cerebral — "Rhinosaur" goes for the gut, while "Pretty Noose" is updated, muscular prog rock. Down on the Upside is a deceptive album — it might seem like nothing more than heavy metal, but a closer listen reveals that Soundgarden haven't tempered their ambitions at all.

Customer Reviews

more great soundgarden...

This album followed Superunknown, which was a very hard act to follow. SG did the right thing and didn't try to make a second Superunknown, they made an original recording. Still has the riffy feel and offbeats, but is more accessible upfront than Super - more Led Zep rather than Super's Sabbathy feel. Heavy rock mixed with some great acoustic-oriented numbers (particularly Dusty), and the allout awesome mosh-thrash of Ty Cobb. An excellent sequel to Super, and an outstanding album in its own right.

Sonic heaven

It's been 16 years since Soundgarden's Down on the upside release. Soundgarden fans have to wait another month for their next album Sonic heaven. First single Alpha punk should be released on iTunes later this month or early September.

A masterpiece that stands alone

Despite claims from the band itself some of the ideas were not fully developed, the album stands alone as a superb creation. Overshadowing it with Superunknown is missing the beauty of this album. It rocks and has great depth and classic riffs aplenty without sounding like a record company decision. 'Blow up the outside world' is epic and Rhinosaur demonstrates just why Matt Cameron has earned his reputation as a kind of new age Bonham. Cornell is at his finest and the guitar and bass work like glue. Thank your creator for SG.


Formed: 1984 in Seattle, WA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '10s

Soundgarden made a place for heavy metal in alternative rock. Their fellow Seattle rockers Green River may have spearheaded the grunge sound, but they relied on noise rock in the vein of the Stooges. Similarly, Jane's Addiction were too fascinated with prog rock and performance art to appeal to a wide array of metal fans. Soundgarden, however, developed directly out of the grandiose blues-rock of Led Zeppelin and the sludgy, slow riffs of Black Sabbath. Which isn't to say they were a straight-ahead...
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