Soundgarden | Telephantasm

A&M Records (2010)
By MICHAEL CHRISTOPHER  |  October 5, 2010
3.5 3.5 Stars

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Aside from an unfortunate crop of John Graham art making the cover look like one of those three-wolf-moon T-shirts, Telephantasm is a solid retrospective for a Seattle metal band who got wrapped up in flannel, became an MTV staple, and left the game before ending up like Nirvana or, worse, Pearl Jam. Go with the two-disc deluxe edition for nuggets like the jittery "All Your Lies" from the mid-'80 Deep Six compilation, the brutally steady bass-and-lead-guitar duel of "Birth Ritual" from the Singles soundtrack, and "Room a Thousand Years Wide" — the Sub Pop version. There's plenty for the "Black Hole Sun" sect, some of it made up of live or alternate mixes, among them a ferocious "Jesus Christ Pose" from a gig in 1993 and a raw "Get on the Snake" recorded at the Whisky four years prior. Chris Cornell's range-defying voice remains the pre-eminent instrument, shredding "Outshined," "Rusty Cage," and "My Wave" over the distinctive plow of sludge from his bandmates. New track "Black Rain," a retooled outtake from the Badmotorfinger sessions, makes a powerful case for Soundgarden's moving forward, provided there's more grunge like it clogging up the cannon.

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