Signing to a major label, Soundgarden take a step toward the metal mainstream with Louder Than Love, a slow, grinding, detuned mountain of Sabbath/Zeppelin riffs and Chris Cornell wailing. The production is even murkier than usual -- this time too much so, as the rest of the band tries to poke its way through Kim Thayil's guitar squall; additionally, too much of the album drifts along without focus or variety. But there are some essential Soundgarden items mixed in, among them the haunting "Hands All Over," the punky "Full on Kevin's Mom," and the stereotypically macho metal stupidity of "Big Dumb Sex," whose ironic intent is often misconstrued. Unfortunately, that irony is missing from the plodding, overblown filler that constitutes about half of the album. It's worthwhile to sift through Louder Than Love, but don't expect consistency.
AllMusic Review by Steve Huey