Five Songs That Show Soundgarden's Versatility

Soundgarden is one of those bands that has been unfortunately pigeonholed by their era and their scene. They emerged in the late '80s as a promising new metal band before they got scooped up in the grunge movement following Nirvana's big break in 1991. No matter what, though, they were always the weirdos of the grunge scene, pulling out stranger and stranger tracks on all their albums that showed they would not be held to one sound or definition.

We're pretty big fans of the band here at Rocks Off, and we're excited to see their massive show with that other weird '90s hitmaker, Nine Inch Nails, at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion tomorrow night. In that spirit of that, I decided to comb through Soundgarden's catalog for proof that this band has never quite existed in the box some people put them in. Here are the five weirdest tracks that show their true versatility.

5. "Beyond the Wheel" This song is so heavy, it's unbelievable. "Beyond the Wheel" was a Chris Cornell composition from Soundgarden's first record, Ultramega OK, and it's one of the most metal tracks the band ever wrote. This is practically doom or stoner metal with its crushing, sludgy riffs and Cornell's wailing, almost King Diamond-esque vocals.

4. "Power Trip" From the band's second album, Louder Than Love, "Power Trip" is interesting for a few reasons. No. 1, it's one of the only Soundgarden tracks written by bassist Hiro Yamamoto, who left the band after that record. Second, it's maybe the most Black Sabbath-indebted Soundgarden track of all time. This is straight-on, sick blues-rock in the Tony Iommi school.

3. "Drawing Flies" This is one of my absolute favorite tracks from Badmotorfinger, but it's not at all what one would expect from Soundgarden. First off, its driving, punk-rock sound is pretty different than Soundgarden's usual blend of grunge and metal. But hear those horns? Who would ever expect a Soundgarden song to employ horns?

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Corey Deiterman