King Animal - Soundgarden
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 70 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 64 out of 70
  2. Negative: 4 out of 70

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  1. Nov 13, 2012
    The Knights of the Soundtable ride again! King Animal is Soundgarden's first studio album since their 2010 reunion, and their first album of new material since 1996's Down on the Upside. And this album was definitely worth the wait. Soundgarden, driven by the wailing (and no less powerful) vocals of Chris Cornell, the mighty guitar riffs of Kim Thayil, the bouncy basslines of Ben Shepherd, and the eclectic and versatile drumming of Matt Cameron, have crafted a magnificent work of rock 'n roll. The overall vibe is similar to that of the band's previous albums Superunknown (IMO their magnum opus) and Down on the Upside. The songs are grungy without sounding nostalgic; instead they sound like a fresh reawakening. The band maneuvers through odd time signatures with ease, performing with vitality despite their older age. There are fast songs and slow songs, heavy rockers and soft acoustic tracks, psychedelic dirges and energetic bursts of alt-metal. Hats off to Soundgarden for making not only an excellent comeback album, but one of the best albums of 2012. Expand
  2. Nov 26, 2012
    No, this album is not a "10". But it's hands down better than anything Cornell and the rest of the guys put out during the band shut down. It sounds more Superunknown than Down On The Upside, which is good :). To me, best album of 2012, along with Killing Joke, The Walkmen, and dEUS.
  3. Nov 15, 2012
    Wow, I have missed Soundgarden. King Animal rocks. Cornell's screaming lyrics are back. Heavy, fast, dynamic. Soundgarden could never top Badmoterfinger but they come close to it on King Animal.
  4. Nov 13, 2012
    Grunge is back!!! Amazing.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  5. Nov 15, 2012
    I think I became a fan of Soundgarden right after Down on the Upside came out, and right before they broke up. Around 9 or 10 years old, I already knew that 'Black Hole Sun' and 'Blow Up The Outside' would be with me for a long time. Then... nothing. A movement, grunge, that truly spoke to me (in my adolescent youth somehow) that had faded away just as I arrived. Pearl Jam's best days were behind them, Nirvana was no more, Alice in Chains was about to begin their fade to black, Screaming Trees were on their way out and Mark Lanegan had yet to achieve on his own... There was nothing for another 13 years, aside from the few and far between quality Pearl Jam track. The 2000's wound up being very generous. Alice in Chains gave us "Black Gives Way to Blue," which while a powerful record, lacked their deceased frontman Layne Staley. But in 2012, the 90's came roaring back with "King Animal" from the most musically gifted of the Big 4 grunge bands. So how does it stack up? Well, to contemporary rock radio fare, it absolutely wipes the floor with your Neon Trees and Maroon 5 (which yes, are being played on Washington D.C.'s biggest rock station). This animal is indeed king, and it roars like a lion. The lead single is more a symbol of the band's return rather than a future Soundgarden classic. It's a pretty straight ahead rocker, but Chris Cornell's voice sounds aged, like the worst you ever hopefully never heard him on Audioslave's live DVD performance in Cuba. Maybe not QUITE that bad, but it had me fearing the worst. Luckily, on most other tracks, it sounds like he hasn't aged a day since 1996. This is especially true on 'A Thousand Days Before,' which is so far my favorite track on the album. It's a moving, unruly, "chicken pickin" Eastern flavored triumph, which will undoubtedly go down as a staple in Soundgarden setlists. Other highlights: 'Rowing,' 'Black Saturday,' 'Non-State Actor,' and 'Blood on the Valley Floor," the latter of which requires multiple listens to fully absorb the initially off-putting disharmonic sludge, which eventually harkens back to 'Mailman' and 'Limo Wreck'. Expand
  6. Nov 13, 2012
    Oh hell.. It IS soungarden............................................................................................................................
  7. Nov 13, 2012
    A triumphant comeback for Soundgarden. King Animal is a perfect followup to Down on the Upside, so much so that it hardly feels like their first album in 16 years.
  8. Nov 13, 2012
    Sixteen years is a LONG time for any established creative collective, in any medium, to finally break silence and get back to doing what they do best; and with all the days, weeks and months that pile on, so does expectations. On that end, it's not hyperbole to say that Soundgarden have their work cut out for them, coupled with the fact that the last couple of work from frontman Chris Cornell haven't exactly made a splash with people, other than the truly devoted, does garner some doubt into the reformation of the much heralded musical collective; but somehow, just somehow, these four have shown that the newly reformed group are not some cash-grabbing nostalgia trip by way of a new record that at once feels comfortably familiar and genuinely exploratory. 'King Animal' would've fit snugly into the late nineties as a great rock record but feels absolutely vital in this century.

    Listening to the album from top-to-bottom is a genuinely enlightening, albeit strangely paced, journey thus I will not spoil it with a track-by-track dissection. The only thing worth mentioning to longtime fans is that the transition from 1996's 'Down on the Upside' to this is staggeringly smooth and expected, to the uninformed however, this album is a history lesson into a time when rock musicians weren't afraid to take creative risks and at the same time not altering too much of what defined them. Guitarist Kim Thayil's playing still sounds like an extremely gifted child trying to explore every angle of his instrument, bass player Ben Shepherd still occasionally ventures off the beaten path with his writing and playing, drummer Matt Cameron still hasn't learned to keep a steady beat (in the best way possible of course!) and singer Chris Cornell still...well, expecting him to hit those high notes like it's 1992 is grossly unfair to a musician who has proven himself time and again to be more than the sum of his [vocal] parts, but his voice has a much more raw, more feral and uninhibited twinge to it now; but the fact that the man still retains his patented drum-shattering-scream-to-seducing-croon-in-nanoseconds is a truly herculean achievement.

    If there's any criticism with the record it's that it barely holds any surprises for the stalwarts, as mentioned above this album is a rather smooth transition from their last work, which is a shame given how the band showed their inexorable will to evolve with each of their past albums; but let's not try and sound too ungrateful; there's still that sense of wonder, angst and exploration in these tracks that we've all come to expect from a 'post-Badmotorfinger' Soundgarden album. All in all, King Animal is an absolutely essential listen to any individual who claims to love rock music and a great sigh of relief for us nervous longtimers.
  9. Nov 14, 2012
    Soundgarden still stands as a very respected entity in the music industry, so stakes were quite high with King Animal, the band's first studio release in well over a decade. Chris Cornell said himself, prior to the release, that the new album would be sort of a natural progression from the band's 1996 album Down on the Upside. And for the most part this statement holds true, though that is not to say that the band sounds predictable on King Animal. Songs like By Crooked Steps, A Thousand Days Before and Bones of Birds definitely have that special something that characterize Soundgarden. Black Saturday and Rowing are songs that don't sound like anything the band has ever done and are a welcome addition to the band sonic palette. On the flip side, the song Halfway There, as catchy and melodic as it is, doesn't really feel at home on a Soundgarden record. Overall, King Animal is a strong album that proves that the band still has chemistry and that should satisfy long time fans. Expand
  10. Nov 19, 2012
    King Animal is the first Soundgarden album that doesn't contain any "fillers" in my opinion, Gold from start to finish. Best album I've heard in a long time.
  11. Nov 24, 2012
    Definitely a masterpiece, like they said, it takes where they left off, heavy, trippy, dark, and well written, it hava an awesome start with "Been away too long" and it ends perfect with "Rowing". glad Soundgarden is back!.

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. Dec 21, 2012
    King Animal bucks the trend by being reasonably good. It is unquestionably a Soundgarden album, and far better than anyone had a right to expect.
  2. Dec 11, 2012
    A welcome return. [Jan 2013, p.81]
  3. Dec 10, 2012
    In an era when so many classic bands return to tout but without risking new material, it's a delight to have Soundgarden take that gamble and win. [17 Nov 2012, p.52]