For the first time since 1997, Soundgarden has released new music. After such a long "break," it's almost unreasonable to expect greatness from any band. But if any band can pull off such a comeback, it's Soundgarden.
It's not that I still trust Chris Cornell. After more than a decade of greatness in Soundgarden - a band that perfectly blended Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin with a modern hard rock twist - Cornell has consistently made mediocre or flat-out bad music. Who could still have faith in a musician who released albums as bad as "Carry On" (a pop album drowned by heavy production and nearly devoid of hooks) and "Scream" (a hip-hop-influenced collaboration with Timbaland)?
But Cornell's 2011 single, "The Keeper" - made for the "Machine Gun Preacher" soundtrack - showed that he still has life and can write a good song when he puts his mind to it.
Also, Soundgarden's reliably outstanding guitarist Kim Thayil is involved and that means, at the very least, the music will rock.
And the riff on "Live to Rise" does just that. It's a perfect wake-up call for people who have lost faith in modern rock because the genre has been hijacked by Nickeback (and clones). The chorus is up to the task too. Cornell's voice sounds straight out of "Down on the Upside"-era Soundgarden.
There are a few hang-ups - he's singing about the sun, again, really? And the verses get a little bogged down by Cornell treating his words too carefully. He should just wail, come on.
But, then again, he is older and his voice is extremely shaky live. So, maybe it's better that he plays it a little safer.
Regardless, this is a really good song that gets better the more I listen to it and makes me excited for their coming record.
"Live to Rise" is available as a free download on iTunes and will be a part of the upcoming "Avengers" soundtrack, which will be released May 1.
The producers of the album seem to be searching for a bit of a grunge revival. It also features a song by Bush and Scott Weiland, the former lead singer of Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver.