By Kyle Anderson
Updated April 17, 2012 at 05:26 PM EDT
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images
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The last time Soundgarden wrote and recorded a new song together, Bill Clinton was president and Independence Day was the top-grossing movie at the multiplex. (“Black Rain,” the “new” song from the band’s 2010 release Telephantasm,doesn’t count, since it dates all the way back to the Badmotorfinger era.)

But that was 1996. Since another relic from that year is suddenly walking around again, why wouldn’t the newly-revived Soundgarden get back together for a new single for the soundtrack to the all-superheroes-on-deck action flick The Avengers?

That very thing exists now. “Live to Rise” has been floating around the Internet for a minute, but now it has been officially released and will be available for free on iTunes starting today until next Tuesday, April 24.

So has anything changed in the 16 years between original Soundgarden compositions? Based on “Live to Rise,” not really. It has the same yin and yang as the latter-day Soundgarden output, which drifted away from the spastic sludge of their early EPs in favor of a thundering dinosaur plod. Frontman Chris Cornell’s voice still sounds like it has been beamed from another universe where Robert Plant’s face is on the dollar bill, but the anonymous crunch underneath lacks the melodic punch of stuff like “Black Hole Sun.” Really, “Live to Rise” sounds more like Cornell’s work with Audioslave — loud, heavy, and almost completely soulless.

It’s entirely possible that Soundgarden are simply burdened with being too influential; a metric ton of boilerplate radio rock today still sounds almost exactly like Cornell and co.’s Sabbath-baiting thump. In fact, those influences are all over the soundtrack to The Avengers, which also features Evanescence, Shinedown, Papa Roach, Bush, and Theory of a Deadman, among others. (The soundtrack comes out on May 1; the Joss Whedon-directed film hits theaters on May 4.)

What do you think of “Live to Rise”? Does it make you excited for more new Soundgarden music, which is supposedly coming soon? Or does it make you pine for the days of “Outshined” (or even “Ty Cobb”)?


Attack of the '90s

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