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Temple of the Dog

Temple of the Dog

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Album Review

Featuring members of Soundgarden and what would soon become Pearl Jam, Temple of the Dog's lone eponymous album might never have reached a wide audience if not for Pearl Jam's breakout success a year later. In turn, by providing the first glimpse of Chris Cornell's more straightforward, classic rock-influenced side, Temple of the Dog helped set the stage for Soundgarden's mainstream breakthrough with Superunknown. Nearly every founding member of Pearl Jam appears on Temple of the Dog (including the then-unknown Eddie Vedder), so perhaps it isn't surprising that the record sounds like a bridge between Mother Love Bone's theatrical '70s-rock updates and Pearl Jam's hard-rocking seriousness. What is surprising, though, is that Cornell is the dominant composer, writing the music on seven of the ten tracks (and lyrics on all). Keeping in mind that Soundgarden's previous album was the overblown metallic miasma of Louder Than Love, the accessibly warm, relatively clean sound of Temple of the Dog is somewhat shocking, and its mellower moments are minor revelations in terms of Cornell's songwriting abilities. It isn't just the band, either — he displays more emotional range than ever before, and his melodies and song structures are (for the most part) pure, vintage hard rock. In fact, it's almost as though he's trying to write in the style of Mother Love Bone — which makes sense, since Temple of the Dog was a tribute to that band's late singer Andrew Wood. Not every song here is directly connected to Wood; once several specific elegies were recorded, additional material grew quickly out of the group's natural chemistry. As a result, there's a very loose, jam-oriented feel to much of the album, and while it definitely meanders at times, the result is a more immediate emotional impact. The album's strength is its mournful, elegiac ballads, but thanks to the band's spontaneous creative energy and appropriately warm sound, it's permeated by a definite, life-affirming aura. That may seem like a paradox, but consider the adage that funerals are more for the living than the dead; Temple of the Dog shows Wood's associates working through their grief and finding the strength to move on.

Customer Reviews

If you're in the mood....

I recently went to see Audioslave in concert and they had done the Temple of the Dog song 'Hunger Strike' live. Hearing it again after so many years made me realize that I never picked the album up or gave it a listen before. So, when I got home from the show, I hopped on iTunes and checked it out. I gotta say, it's a really good album. It reminds me a lot of Chris Cornell's solo stuff: Very bluesy, slow, relaxation mood type music. Good album. Shame they only did the one, though. On a side note, if you get a chance to catch Audioslave live, don't miss out. They were outstanding. Later, R-

Years Later and It Still Holds Up

This CD was one of my favorites growing up. The song that was most well-known "Hunger Strike" is a nice song but "Hello to Heaven", "Wooden Jesus" and "All Night Thing" blow the rest out of the water! Vocals on this are soulful rock and can't be beat ...Some FANTASTIC STUFF here!

One of only a few "Perfect and Nearly Perfect Albums" on my list

There are a few "Perfect and Nearly Perfect Albums" that come to mind . . . Aerosmith - Toys in the Attic, Pearl Jam - Ten, Bob Marley - Exodus, Patti Smith - Horses, RHCP - BSSM. Temple of the Dog earns its place on the list. Let's start with the obvious, "Hunger Strike." The words, the melody, the perfectly calibrated guitar, bass, and drums lay the ground work. And Chris' vocals sound as good as ever. But when the power of Eddie Vedder’s vocals rip through the song, keeping it straight, like an iron rod down your back, it all comes together. But all of the praise doesn't just go to Chris and Eddie. Mike McReady's guitar rips through "Reach Down." He proves he can rip the screamin' rock guitar as well as the guitar gods of the 70's he's so obviously influenced by. Even the "minor" songs sneak up on you and implant themselves firmly under you skin. You'll find yourself humming "Call Me a Dog" about a hundred times before you finally figure out "what that song is." Then you listen to the words and say to yourself, "ah, Chris got me again."

Biography

Formed: 1990 in Seattle, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s

Temple of the Dog was a one-album project conceived in 1990. The purpose of Temple of the Dog was to pay tribute to the late Andrew Wood, the lead singer of Mother Love Bone, who died of a heroin overdose in 1990. Following his death, Mother Love Bone broke up, but Wood's bandmates Jeff Ament (bass) and Stone Gossard (guitar) decided to continue working together. Before Ament and Gossard formed a new band, they assembled Temple of the Dog, recruiting Chris Cornell (vocals) and Matt Cameron (drums)...
Full Bio
Temple of the Dog, Temple of the Dog
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