Saturday, November 12, 2016

CD/DVD/Blu-ray Review: Soundgarden Revisits "Badmotorfinger" For 25th Anniversary

The year was 1991 and a new musical force was brewing in the Northwest corner of the United States. The musical landscape was beginning to shift as slick guitar solos and big hair was about to be washed out by flannel shirts and raw, buzzing garage rock. Three iconic albums were released within three months of each other and they made up the mount rushmore of grunge music. Pearl Jam were new to the scene and released their debut album "Ten" in August, followed by Nirvana's sophomore release "Nevermind" in September. The elder statesmen of Seattle grunge scene was Soundgarden, who released their third effort "Badmotorfinger," in October and blurred the line between grunge and heavy metal music.

Their sound on "Badmotorfinger" was loud, dark and filled with rage. Songs like "Rusty Cage" and "Drawing Flies" had the energy of punk mixed with Kim Thayil's big heavy metal guitar solos and Matt Cameron's thunderous drumming. Ben Shepard's deep groove on "Outshined" and the epic feel of "Slaves & Bulldozers" showcased a maturity that Pearl Jam and Nirvana haven't reached yet. On top of it all was the amazing vocal range of Chris Cornell on songs like "Jesus Christ Pose" and "Searching With My Good Eye Closed." The album has since gone double-platinum and ranked Soundgarden as one of the best hard rock bands of all time.

To celebrate this achievement, Universal Music Group is releasing a 25th anniversary box set of the album on November 18th. A deluxe edition of the album features a newly remastered version of "Badmotorfinger," plus a second-disc of previously unreleased outtakes and live songs taken from their March 1992 live performance at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle. The album will also be issued as a 2-LP vinyl with limited silver vinyl version of 1,000 available exclusively at Soundgardenworld.com. Fans will want to get their hands on the super deluxe edition, which features 4CDs, consisting of the newly remastered album, an entire disc of studio outtakes and the complete "Live At The Paramount" live set that has been previously unreleased on CD. Not only that, but included is a DVD of the "Live At The Paramount" show, plus a second DVD that features the 1992 "Motorvision" video that was previously only available on VHS and more live footage from their 1992 tour. The set also includes a Blu-ray that has the 5.1 audio surround sound version of the album along with B-sides and the three music videos for the singles "Jesus Christ Pose," "Outshined" and "Rusty Cage."

The main album has never sounded better as you can feel the powerful blast of power that Soundgarden were looking to invoke at the time. The outtakes are also very interesting as an early version of "Black Hole Sun" appears as "Black Rain" and Queen guitarist Brian May joins the band on a version of "New Damage." The two live CDs will transport you back to the early nineties as Soundgarden mix together tracks from the newly released "Badmotorfinger" with early greats like "Flower" and "Big Dumb Sex." Soundgarden also try their hand at the Black Sabbath classic "Into The Void," giving the heavy metal song a grunge makeover.

The blu-ray features the entire album in crystal clear, 5.1 surround sound along with visuals for each song created especially for this release. You also get the rare b-sides "Cold Bitch," "She's A Polition" and "Birth Ritual." The blu-ray also delivers the best quality of the three music videos of "Jesus Christ Pose," Rusty Cage" and "Outshined" from the "Superunknown" album.

The DVD featuring "Live At The Paramount" has been previously unreleased. The quality is not the greatest, but then again it was not filmed in high-definition. The video gives off a nostalgic feel as you moved from the visuals of the front row to the back of the theatre to on stage with the band. The audience is hyped-up and full of energy as crowd surfing and stage diving  work their way into almost every song. The live performance showcases a band on the verge of stardom as they are ready to be crowned one of the leaders of the grunge movement.

The second DVD includes the previously released VHS video "Motorvision" that includes live versions of songs from the "Superunknown" that were taken from the "Live At The Paramount" video. Some of the footage is different than what is shown on the "Live At The Paramount" DVD as the footage was cut together for this home video release. The bonus videos on this DVD are what fans will really enjoy as they are all previously unreleased live videos taken from the "Superunknown" tour. Much of the footage is raw, but very welcomed in this new box set which includes practically everything that Soundgarden has in the vaults related to the "Superunknown" album for its 25th anniversary.

The complete package gives fans everything they ever wanted from the band's early heyday, before their huge break into the mainstream. To find out more about the new 25th anniversary release of Soundgarden's "Badmotorfinger" album, please visit soundgardenworld.com.

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