Depeche Mode history was made recently, on February 17, when the band performed a special show at the Royal Albert Hall, for Teenage Cancer Trust. Before performing Somebody, Martin Gore invited a special guest on stage, none other than Alan Wilder, who accompanied Gore on piano. Wilder left Depeche Mode in 1995, after the strenuous tour for Songs of Faith and Devotion, which nearly broke the whole band, claiming that relationships within the band “have become seriously strained, increasingly frustrating and, ultimately, in certain situations, intolerable”. After his departure, he devoted himself full-time to side-project Recoil, which is still touring and releasing albums. As expected, the brief reunion caused a lot of joy among Depeche Mode fans, but this was a one-off. No rumors of a full-on Wilder return should come of this.
With a Soundgarden reunion in the works, this is a good time to take a look at one of their non-single masterpieces. It’s no wonder that they agreed on this comeback only if all the original members would be in it, considering that each of them had an essential contribution to what this band is. Head Down, from their breakthrough album, Superunknown, is penned by bass player Ben Sheperd and, though in the neighbourhood of such classics as Black Hole Sun or Spoonman, it stands out as an unique sound and feel. It has the schizo riffs and the chainsaw guitars that defined Soundgarden and helped Soundgarden define grunge, but Chris Cornell’s possessed vocals and the ambiguous lyrics create the feeling of your little devil standing on your shoulder and whispering f#%^ed up shit in your ear: “We see you try, We see you fail, Some things never change”. The constant use of the first person plural enhances the impression that these demons are watching you, ready to settle in your body at any moment. The drumming filled with crashes, the absence of a genuine chorus, they back-up the evil chant quality of this prog-grunge masterwork.
Chris Cornell certainly entered the new year with joyful news for all. “The 12 year break is over & school is back in session. (…) Knights of the Soundtable ride again!” was his first post of the year on Twitter. You don’t have to be a master of deciphering to know that he is hinting at a Soundgarden reunion. They disbanded in 1997 and apparently, promised themselves that there will be no reunion, unless they all agree, thus avoiding a Guns N’ Roses/Smashing Pumpkins type of situation. Since then, Cornell released several solo records as well as revived old-school hard-rock with Audioslave. Considering that Cornell’s career was going well, there is no reason to believe that there are unhonorable grounds for this reunion. Hopefully, the band will work on new material and not just tour, though that will be welcomed by quite a few (millions of) people. For more info: