There’s a weird element to remastered albums. A lot of times it’s an unnecessary ploy to get fans to re-purchase a record they own. But sometimes it’s also a very necessary ploy in order for a bands records to sound as close to a specific vision and direction as possible. An artistic move that fans will forever be grateful for. Soundgarden fit into the latter category. Earlier this year the band has remastered ‘Ultramega OK’ and ‘Badmotorfinger’. And I gotta say it really pays off. I don’t have ‘Badmotorfinger’ yet, but I purchased ‘Ultramega OK’ the other day. And whoa is it a difference. Major sonic difference!
It really doesn’t sound like their first album, which it is in reality. Instead, the band replaced the hollow reverb echo that dominates the sonic feel of the original release. It sonically sounds more like ‘Superunknown’. Which is what the goal is. In terms of sonic elements, ‘Superunknown’ is their peak, it’s the Soundgarden mix sound. Many fans also consider it the bands song writing peak as well. Which is debatable and always a close call. But in terms of how the mix sounds ‘Superunknown’ is the Soundgarden sound. And what they’ve done is gone back and remastered albums to sound like ‘Superunknown’. Which I think is a great move. I’m sure ‘Badmotorfinger’ benefits from the treatment. But ‘Ultramega OK’ is almost night and day in terms of quality of sound.
Honestly I always kind of shied away from the album because of it’s inferior sonic quality. And the remaster has changed all that. It sounds like it should and I can’t stop listening to the album. The bass is brought to the forefront, the guitars have that Soundgarden style balance and Matt Cameron’s drums simply sound like they should. ‘Flower’ and ‘All Your Lies’ are two of my fave Soundgarden songs and hearing them like this is almost like hearing it for the first time. The same can be said about the rest of the album. A lot of times remasters aren’t that specific. Sure, the digital bit might be upped from 14 to 24 bit. Which makes the record louder and fuller. But it ends there. Soundgarden has gone way beyond that. Really breathing new life into excellent material that truly needed an update. Thanks Soundgarden!
Hear the difference.
Remastered. The only copy I could find is a stream of the full album. The song above, ‘Flower’, is also the first song on the album. So you don’t have to do anything. Also, keep on listening. It’s a great album.