Soundgarden has made it known that they were done after the passing of vocalist Chris Cornell in 2017. Still, the band was working on a new album at the time of Cornell's death, and its remaining members want to finish it up and release it. Which seems impossible considering the master files of Cornell's vocal recordings are currently being withheld.
According to guitarist Kim Thayil in an interview with Music Radar, the band is asking for the files but is not receiving them. He adds that the new songs were demos, but the quality was good "because both Chris and [drummer Matt Cameron] had become very interested in their home recording technique.
"Right now, that’s all kind of stalled. We tried to get this going two years ago, but we’re not in possession of any of the demos that Chris was working on with them. We have copies of them, but what we need are the files, so that we’d be able to overdub and finish the record. We are not in possession of those."
When asked what the band will have to do to get control of the files, Thayil says he's not sure.
“We don’t know. We’ve asked nicely, we’ve suggested that this will benefit all parties, if the band could just have these files, and we could finish the songs we were working on.
“But there seems to be some confusion amongst various parties as to what that would entail and how that works, and who that would benefit. And it’s been tiring, you know. And we can’t move on until some future date when someone realises the value of allowing the creative partners to have access to the material.”
He does talk about the sound of the new album though, saying it was a good mixture of dark and trippy.
“Interestingly, there’s a psychedelic element, and there was more of a grooving, I’d say a little bit more, not ballad-y, but more guitar arpeggiations, like what you might hear on Fell On Black Days.
“And then we had maybe a couple of sad songs, and a couple of heavy songs that in general feel were – where we were at in the writing process – kind of mixed like King Animal, but a little bit less of the heavy stuff. But it was still interesting, still quirky stuff.
“Once Matt, Ben and myself get a hold of those songs and finish putting down our parts, the songs will very likely become heavier, darker and maybe a bit trippier.”