The reunited Soundgarden, who haven't released an album of new music since 1996's Down on the Upside, will debut an unreleased track titled "Black Rain" on Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, Activision revealed yesterday as part of the E3 conference. While whether "Black Rain" is an unearthed track or a new recording by the Seattle grunge rockers is unclear, the song marks the first new music Soundgarden fans have received from the band since "Bleed Together" was included on the 1997 greatest hits comp A-Sides. There's no indication as to whether "Black Rain" will be released independent of Warriors of Rock.
"Black Rain" joins a Warriors of Rock track list that also features Jane's Addiction's "Been Caught Stealing," Kiss' "Love Gun," Muse's "Uprising" and, as Rolling Stone previously reported, a new Megadeth song called "Sudden Death" that was specially crafted for the video game. Narrated by Gene Simmons, Warriors of Rock focuses largely on impossible guitar solos and heavy metal riffs in a virtual landscape where "Demi-Gods and Beasts" are playable avatars. The game is due in September.
When Rolling Stone spoke to Kim Thayil last year about Soundgarden's long-delayed box set of B sides and unreleased material, the guitarist explained that problems with the band's old record company has kept the material out of fans' hands. "A year or two after we disbanded, A&M Records disbanded — it got bought, and all of our friends there got fired. The record company dissolving and our management company dissolving put a big hit on Soundgarden's catalog and merchandise," Thayil told RS.
"Basically, a box set slowly and surely will happen. We need communication with the band, our record label and management. It's all inertia, if it's a big giant stone wheel, it comes down a hill really fast. But it goes up a hill very slow. Right now, it's at the bottom of the hill, and we've got to push it back up."
"Dirty Candy," "Ocean Fronts," "Open Up," "Summation," "Beast" and "No Shame" were among the unreleased tracks that Thayil said Soundgarden were saving in their vaults ("Black Rain," however, was not mentioned by the guitarist). " 'Beast' and 'Summation' were really strong songs live — from the mid-late '80s, I cannot believe those two songs have never been released," Thayil said. "There's enough stuff out there to fill up three or four albums. There's enough original stuff that's been released but hasn't been compiled — B sides — to make an album. There's enough covers to make an album. It's just getting the business and creative machine on the same page."
Since announcing their reunion on New Year's Day, Soundgarden have been largely quiet, staging only one secret show full hits and rarities in their native Seattle in April, the group's first gig since 1997 (read our full report). However, things will surely pick up later this summer when Soundgarden headline their first "official" reunion gig on the closing night of the Lollapalooza festival in Chicago on August 8th.