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Album Review: Soundgarden – Superunknown (20th Anniversary Edition)

2 min read

Soundgarden fans will be able to celebrate to the hilts as the 20th anniversary edition of Superunknown is released. The record, featuring standout tracks such as Black Hole Sun, Spoonman and Fell On Black Days, turned twenty years old on the 20th March and as a result fans will be able to delve into the world of Superunknown further than ever before.

Soundgarden-Superunkown-20thAnniversaryCoverThe 20th anniversary reissue arrives in two packages. Firstly, the Deluxe Edition is a 2-CD offering, featuring the remastered album along with a second disc containing a host of demos, B-sides, rehearsals and more. Next up is the Super Deluxe Edition – a whopping 5-CD package featuring the remastered album, even more B-sides, rehearsals, demos and finally the icing on the cake – the album mixed in Blu-ray audio 5.1 Surround Sound. This edition is beautifully put together in a hardbound book, with additional artworks, unseen photography and liner notes by Rolling Stone editor David Fricke. So, there are the details, but how does it sound? Well of course, we already know that.

Superunknown bursts into you ears with groove, odd time signatures, those low tuned guitars and the immediately recognisable husky voice of frontman Chris Cornell dancing around between your ears. We know all the words to the hits – songs such as Fell On Black Days, Black Hole Sun and Spoonman are the ones that threw this album into the spotlight, but it’s the absence of ordinary filler material that gave this album its legs and enabled it to stand the test of time. It’s entirely listenable from start to finish, and a pleasure to do so. My Wave, The Day I Tried To Live, and title track Superunknown provide classic grunge tunes that sit wonderfully in between those hits. An air of psychedelic goings on runs through the disc, helped along by those long, unnerving droning of guitars as seen on Limo Wreck and Like Suicide, giving the album a heavy yet ethereal glow. And it is this sound that Soundgarden have become famous for.

The bonus material is an added plus, especially for the devoted fan. Superunknown now sounds more polished, possibly more refined after undergoing the remastering process. Some will prefer the original sound, wanting to stay true to the authentic recordings, but with the monumental steps technology has taken since 1994 its only natural to want to hear an updated version. The B-sides, demos and live numbers are again a nice touch, but this reissue is really all about celebrating the sound of Superunknown in its entirety, about taking us back to 1994 and into the midst of the grunge scene on the streets of Seattle. The album has helped define a genre for 20 years, and nothing seems to be changing that anytime soon.