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Music Review-Soundgarden-“Ultramega OK (Expanded Reissue)”

01. Flower
02. All Your Lies
03. 665
04. Beyond The Wheel
05. 667
06. Mood For Trouble
07. Circle Of Power
08. He Didn’t
09. Smokestack Lightning
10. Nazi Driver
11. Head Injury
12. Incessant Mace
13. One Minute Of Silence
14. Head Injury (Early Version)
15. Beyond The Wheel (Early Version)
16. Incessant Mace (Short) [Early Version]
17. He Didn’t (Early Version)
18. All Your Lies (Early Version)
19. Incessant Mace (Long) [Early Version]

Chris Cornell – lead vocals
Kim Thayil – lead guitar
Hiro Yamamoto – bass
Matt Cameron – drums

Review- There will never be another time in music history like when grunge took over the airwaves. The signs were there years earlier, but nothing can quite prepare people quite like, when those first chords of “ Smells like Teen Spirit” hit the mainstream. Everyone today is too cool to admit they were fans, but they know when they look in the mirror all alone that they bought into it, like everyone else did. Soundgarden is one of those bands that I feel, never got their full respect. Considering that “ Louder Than Love” to me is a grunge masterpiece. (To think it is 28 years since I first heard that cassette and got in so much trouble for playing it at the college station I worked at) I forget if I knew about “ Ultramega Ok” before or after “ Louder Than Love”. To think, we are getting a deluxe version of this cd makes me very interested. Debut albums are a tricky deal. They say a band has a lifetime to give us their first album. After that, the lifetime is a chorus of music execs, label execs and fans that pressure you to either put out new music or stop making music.

Where bands come out the gates with an album that cannot be beat, and their whole career is based off of trying to give a proper follow up. Soundgarden decided to whet the appetites of fans. We can start off with the name of this cd as to where the band had their heads at. It was like a mission statement to have fun and not be taken serious. After all, they have a song called “ Nazi Driver”. This album seems to be a marriage between the grunge era with a punk vibe and a art rock garage feel. Where “ Louder than Love” seems to pay homage to Sabbath and Zeppelin. This album seems to pay homage in an odd way to 70’s rock and at times some of the faster bands to come out the 80’s metal scene. This album showcases a band that was not sure of what direction they wanted to travel. This album feels like a bunch of ideas thrown together to try and get a flow from. This album has the riffs that you would expect from this band, and listening to the bonus material on the deluxe it really showcases that the band were on for something.

The musicianship on this album is tight and the guys play their hearts out. The music compliments Chris and his delivery. Cornell does his best high pitched work. I have to say if I walked in a club in the Pacific Northwest and this band was onstage, I would not want to leave. Listening to this album and the demos, I have come to the conclusion that this band did not sell out for success, that it hit them by mistake. This band is so odd and out there, it is like trying to give a grammy to Frank Zappa when he did one of his all week jam session albums. This is a band that has so much talent, as this album showcases, but they are so out there. The demos on this cd are clear and sound better than most band recordings. Chris and staff put a lot of heart into this cd and I feel as debut records went, it was fair. If you have not heard this cd, I would suggest this deluxe deal is your best bet. The bonus stuff is fuzzy and loud, and showcase a band who were out to change nothing but ended up changing everything.

8 out of 10

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