Soundgarden returns with compilation

Album: ‘Telephantasm’ Pitchforks: 4 out of 5 Band: Soundgarden Label: A & M Records

After breaking up in 1997, Soundgarden has returned serving up a plethora of what we remember the band being:  raw and loud. Released Sept. 28, the band has compiled a collection of its finest music and videos spanning back as far as 1985.

Available now are two rather tempting options for fans — depending on one’s dedication level, of course. For those at the top, “Telephantasm” is available in a double CD collection of said hits, a DVD of 14 (20 if you get the bonus package) music videos. A number of them have never before been released, and to round everything off, this package also includes three vinyl records and artwork.

For those looking for a more modest representation of one of the most unique and influential bands of the Seattle sound, the CD/DVD is offered together, and starting Tuesday, the CD by itself will also be made available.

Compilations such as this serve two primary functions. For starters, those unfamiliar or even vaguely familiar can, in one fell swoop, have at their proverbial fingerprints exactly what the band feels is a fair representation of who it is. This, over time, allows the listener to decide which direction he or she might choose when deciding to buy a full-length album.

The second function is for the fans. Collections like this provide a certain time-traveling expedition into times already had, as well as times missed. One cannot escape the feeling of walking through an alleyway off of Virginia Street and 2nd Avenue in downtown Seattle while listening to “Hands All Over” blast in-between one’s ears.

“Telephantasm” also includes a number of live recordings, in addition to one previously unreleased track. The song “Black Rain” was originally intended for the 1991 album “Badmotorfinger.” It is rather unfortunate that the song missed the final cut of the album’s release, but it can serve as a small treat of what the band might have in store for us now, 13 years later.

By all accounts, this reunion appears to be legitimate. The band has played a handful of shows, held an interview or two and seemingly squashed whatever it was before that had sent members walking in their own directions. The key from here on out is not to feel rushed, to not feel as if the group has to make up for lost time.

If there is a sliver of doubt among the band members as to whether or not this rebirth will be accepted, the answer is a resounding “yes.”

If anything, Soundgarden has been sorely missed, and this return is very encouraging for those in favor of the electrifying guitar riffs, pulsating bass, smashing drums and dynamic vocals that came to define Soundgarden.

Before Soundgarden called it quits in 1997, the band was nearing a critical advance in its presentation. Unfortunately there was a … brief hiatus. All of that is in the past now, and Soundgarden and its fans can finally move forward with a clean slate.

Reach the reporter at jbfortne@asu.edu


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