By Danica Bellini
Seven Four Entertainment/Republic Records
Producer: Adam Kasper
Score: 8 out of 10
A dose of urban angst mixed with a touch of lyrical genius, King Animal proves that grungy rock isn’t just a ‘90s phenomenon. Kim Thayil’s explosive, resonating guitar licks (“Blood on the Valley”) and lyrics imbued with explorative, philosophical wisdom (“Bones of Birds”) exude a fresh, mature sound still branded with Soundgarden’s trademark rhythmic-grunge feel. Chris Cornell’s throaty, dreamy vocals vividly expose a thoughtful array of inner tribulations and anxieties, marked by cryptic and insightful acoustical undertones (“Black Saturday”). The electric-groovy lead single “Been Away for Too Long” testifies to their unique grunge roots, while celebrating the band’s thriving rock & roll revitalization.