We’ve resisted covering some BIG albums on Classic Albums over the year or so that we’ve been putting these out but one area we simply couldn’t resist dipping our toe into any longer was the Seattle Grunge (not a genre) scene. And in typical Riot Act fashion, we start with an album which is about as far away from the ‘typical’ grunge sound as you can get.
In this first part of a two part special, we look back at Superunknown, the 4th (or 5th) album by Soundgarden. Remfry leads the chat and states his case for Superunknown being not only an undeniable classic but pretty much one of the best records of all time (and there’s little disagreement from Steve). Released on 8th March 1994, Superunknown was an expansive, experimental smorgasbord of sound that explored a rich tapestry of psychedelia, stoner rock, crooner vocals and doom-laden riffs, an album which takes a Black Sabbath mixed with The Beatles approach as its starting point(!) and twists that idea into ever more exploratory and fascinating territory.
Universally lauded upon its release, Superunknown was released at a strange time for the scene that the band had sprung from. As George Garner put it so eloquently in his retrospective feature on the album for Kerrang!, “Soundgarden were the first of the big grunge acts to sprout and yet the last to bloom.” This had advantages and disadvantages and with the death of Kurt Cobain exactly 4 weeks after Superunknown was released, the tide was beginning to turn in the press and audience’s interests. But Soundgarden easily transcended the term grunge for those who weren’t blinded by trends and Superunknown is a rich banquet of delights which will endure forever.