This is where it ends.
The syncopated drum beat that opens ‘Ugly Truth’, the first track on Soundgarden’s 1989 album Louder Than Love, immediately places it squarely within the frame of Classic Rock. In fact, it echoes the start of ‘When The Levee Breaks’, the final track on Led Zeppelin’s masterpiece fourth album. But seconds after that opening beat hits, we know we’re into new territory, as distorted guitars explode with a sound more like My Bloody Valentine than Deep Purple. Soundgarden go on to show their debt to the likes of Zeppelin and Black Sabbath throughout the album with monster riffs, screeching vocals and booming drums. However, as much as Louder Than Love is rooted in the rock monsters of the preceding 20 years, it’s far from a tired re-hash of tried as tested formulae. Instead it seems almost like the final incarnation of Classic Rock as a living genre before being swamped by its own hybrid offspring – led by Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, and Soundgarden themselves – in the 1990s. By taking a foundation of riffs and beats straight from the early 70s and adding the very modern guitar sounds of contemporary bands such as Mudhoney and Dinosaur Jr, Louder Than Love is almost like an inflection point in musical styles. We can do Classic Rock, the band seem to be saying. Now let’s use it to start something new. (more…)