No, really, it’s not that bad. Sure, when you compare Chris Cornell’s voice here, on the comeback single, “Been Away Too Long,” to his voice during Soundgarden’s mid-’90s heyday, you’ll find it not nearly as robust. The Rock ‘N’ Roll lifestyle and age has a habit of reducing one’s range. And, let’s be honest. The bar for veteran hard-rockers isn’t especially high these days. See Metallica and Lulu. See Chinese Democracy. See Chris Cornell’s solo career. Yet, as much as I want to scream, “Shut up and play the hits!” to the imaginary band not in my living room, and as much as I’m inclined to throw either Louder than Love or Badmotorfinger on the turntable, I still find myself impressed, yet again, by Kim Thayil’s ace guitar work. It’s somewhere between “Outshined” and “Rusty Cage,” two of Soundgarden’s most memorable jams, at times frizzled like an unkept electric fence, other times ballsy and bulldozing, and always spot-on.  There, rockers, is your reason to hold out hope for when King Animal drops on November 13th, it just may surprise.

STREAM: Soundgarden – Been Away To Long