New Metal Crown.
Perhaps Soundgarden unnerved the competition with two heavy-hitting albums in a row (Badmotorfinger, Superunknown), but to declare them the reigning kings of any dominion, as Nickson does all too easily, dismisses the ``grunge''/``alternative'' aesthetic to which the band's most rabid fans subscribe. Soundgarden certainly isn't Metallica Lite or Guns N' Roses with a Pacific Northwestern twang, but apparently that's all Nickson (Brad Pitt, Mariah Carey) learned doing his research. His infrequent insights into alternate guitar tunings or behind-the-scenes personalities are mere pastiche. Chapters seem like slapdash affairs compiled in a hurry for fans who sped through the original magazine features the first time. This brand of ``journalism'' may be typical of quickie celebrity biographies, but die-hard fans always await the exception, such as Michael Azzerad's Nirvana bio, Come as You Are, or Peter Guralnick's near-masterpiece on the young Elvis, The Last Train to Memphis. That in mind, the problem could be Soundgarden, and not Nickson's efforts at all. Unlike the young Elvis, or Nirvana some 40 years later, Soundgarden hasn't reinvented how anyone listens to the radio. And though they've been playing at the top of their game for a couple of years, this is still one of the few Seattle bands not to be cursed by drugs, celebrity or everyday bad luck. Good news makes for dull news in rock and roll and biography. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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St. Martin's Griffin
September 01, 1995
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