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4.8 out of 5 stars
Temple Of The Dog
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99 of 103 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2000
What can you say about Temple of the Dog ? I am sorry to say this is the only release they ever made, and that was brought on by MOTHER LOVE BONEs Andrew Wood s death. Chris Cornell has NEVER sounded better on vocals and the mixture of grunge rock with a heavy dose of blues is arranged WONDERFULLY ! Dont expect a Soundgarden sound, but expect more of a Pearl Jam meets Led Zeppelin.
You simply get it all on this release : SAY HELLO TO HEAVEN and CALL ME A DOG have a slower, blues-heavy feel to them...YOUR SAVIOR and PUSHING FORWARD BACK shows us the funky side of rock...REACH DOWN has a 60s feel to it and ALL NIGHT THING is a gentle, jazzy, kick-back-and-enjoy sound to it. Its a shame that the only cut to get airplay was HUNGER STRIKE, because there is SO MUCH MORE to this record !
If you like a heavy dose of guitar, with a great arrangement of songs - This is for you. Obvoiusly, any fan of Soundgarden or Pearl Jam needs to add this one-time-only cd to their collection. One of 90s BEST releases !
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86 of 91 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon May 29, 2000
In a lesser fashion than, say, Pearl Jam's Ten, "Temple of the Dog" may have spawned an early half-decade of grunge cookie-cutter bands like Bush and Seven Mary Three. Enamored in Seattle glory and mystique, "Temple of the Dog" was comprised of three future Pearl Jam members and fellow Soundgarden rockers Chris Cornell and drummer Matt Cameron.

It begins with a sweet tribute to Andrew Wood, late lead singer of former Seattle band Mother Love Bone. Cornell, who wrote both music and lyrics for a large chunk of this album, mostly runs the show. Always achingly personal, with a raging Robert Plant-like voice to back up his strong emotions, Cornell is an artist's artist.

"Reach Down" is over 11 minutes of plodding guitars and bombastic grunge rhythm, with Cornell screaming like Seattle is his oyster: "You gotta reach down/And pick the crowd up!" he wails. "Hunger Strike," with its beautiful lyrics and tunefulness, plus Eddie Vedder's great vocal contribution, seems destined for classic-rock status. There's not a bad song on this entire record, as the band combines quiet introspection with reflective lyrics on songs like "Call Me a Dog," "Times of Trouble" and the heartfelt "Wooden Jesus." Truly great Seattle grunge music was never dumb music, and these tunes prove that with sincere emotion and thinking-man's lyrics.

If Temple of the Dog were "spontaneous" and practically thrown together (the band's words), it's scary to wonder the depths of the band's sound had it taken its time or experimented more musically. This project further demonstrates the amazing talent and creativity that came out of Seattle before the world crashed in on that private music scene. Temple of the Dog may never reform, but its lone record made a huge impact and is thankfully here to enjoy.
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2006
Temple Of The Dog (1991.), the first and only release from the Temple Of The Dog grunge supergroup

One of the most intriguing questions when looking back at the alternative rock `grunge' explosion in the early 1990's for me is what would have become of Mother Love Bone had lead singer Andrew Wood not tragically overdosed on heroin shortly after the release of the band's masterpiece first and only album. However, what did come from this was firstly, the formation of Pearl Jam, one of the greatest bands of recent times, from Mother Love Bone's ashes and also this tribute album, `Temple Of The Dog'. Greatly moved by Wood's death, Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell, who was Wood's former roommate teamed with drummer Matt Cameron and surviving MLB members bassist Jeff Ament and guitarist Stone Gossard as well as lead guitarist Mike McCready. Released in 1991, just as alternative rock was beginning to hit the mainstream, this album has gone on to become one of the more forgotten and underestimated works from the Seattle movement, similarly to Mother Love Bone's `Apple'. So how much of a forgotten gem is this album?

`Temple Of The Dog', put simply is a musical collaboration that words can't describe. When I originally got the album, I expected it to be good but not on a par with other Seattle classics like `Ten', `Badmotorfinger' or `Dirt'. I was shocked after listening to it; hell I couldn't have been more wrong as this album is every bit the other albums' equal. `Temple Of The Dog' is a masterpiece tribute to Andrew Wood, with 10 awesome songs, none of which are less than excellent. The collaboration of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden is a unique and successful blend indeed. Chris Cornell paves the way with the album, writing most of the songs and all of the lyrics. His words of emotional, compelling, dark and powerful and his strong delivery on this album is hard to match. I thought his vocal range on `Badmotorfinger' was unsurpassable enough but he is even more stronger on this album, and strangely seems more at home in this tribute band. The distinctive, grungy and sometimes quirky guitar play from Gossard and McCready complements his singing very well and sets up an unwavering groove throughout the album that can easily put you in a trance. Couple that with a great rhythm section of Matt Cameron and Jeff Ament (now obviously a feature in Pearl Jam too) and the results can be no less than phenominal. All of the 10 songs on the album have something different to offer, be it slower, emotional ballads or grungier rocking guitar jams. Harmonica, keyboard and organ make very effective appearances in some of the songs such as `Times Of Trouble' and `All Night Thing' also. It really is a shame for me that this album (and Mother Love Bone's `Apple') are the more forgotten works of the Seattle sound as they are perhaps two of the genres finest works. I suppose it's one of those tragedies that often the best music reaches the fewest ears. The fact that Mother Love Bone never progressed past it's first album tragically is at least a softened blow when we have tribute works like this one that are so awe inspriring.

`Temple Of The Dog' get's going with `Say Hello 2 Heaven', an opener with tribute written all over it. This awesome opener definitely tells the listener they're in for something special with this album. A slow guitar groove works greatly in tandem to Cornell's calm verse vocals before spurring into a blistering vocal attack on the chorus. One of the prized moments on the album is next in `Reach Down', a...wait for it, 11 minute epic. The amazing thing is that it never gets boring. Plodding, stripped down guitar work is a feature throughout the song and is a platform for a lengthy vocals from Cornell. After 2 verses, the song goes all out into a jam for about 5 minutes with plenty of experimental guitar work from McCready and some great bass from Jeff Ament. The soulful vocal reprise and harmony late on is excellent. The single off the album, `Hunger Strike' is next and what a song. The instrumentation has a classic Pearl Jam feel to it, as does the song overall, as it features guest vocalist Eddie Vedder. Himself and Cornell exchange vocals very effectively and the `I'm Going Hungry' vocal exit is brilliant. `Pushing Forward Back' has a more urgent pace to it and a much more rocking feel to it, with a memorable chorus. Then we have `Call Me A Dog'; a much more slower, emotive ballad, with a piano harmony and more toned down (but just as effective) Cornell vocals. It's a very introspective song and this is reflected throughout, especially with the end solo.

The next track for me though is the pinnacle of the album in `Times Of Trouble'. It's another very stripped down and slow song musically. Cornell gives a compelling vocal performance with lyrics about loss and drug addiction. Each verse builds to a thrilling climax were Cornell's vocals increase in power. The harmonica solo is quite special as is the `If somebody...' bridge at the end. Such a moving song. The effects of religion are in the lyrics of `Wooden Jesus', another fine song, with more fantastic guitar licks and a stunning chorus. `Your Saviour' has some interesting but good vocal harmonies from Eddie Vedder to complement Cornell's striking calls. If you had to pick a song which was closest to being like Soundgarden on the album, you'd pick this one. `Four Walled World' is another dark and moving epic with brooding guitar melodies and a heart wrenching chorus. Cornell again is the centrepiece of another fantastic song, as is also true in the final song `All Night Thing'. Cornell rounds things off accompanied by not much more than organ and piano harmonies which finishes the album in an extremely peaceful note.

The grunge supergroup `Temple Of The Dog' only stayed together for one album with this masterpiece tribute but for me it was more than enough for them to make their mark on the Seattle music scene alongside all the other great bands of the time. Few albums can match a work like this where all songs are top notch and hardly flawed, this is truly a masterpiece. It's slow, dark and emotional but is a thrilling listen and captvates the listener from start to finish. Sadly, it's not always that easy to get (certainly rare in CD shops in the UK) so you may have to do some searching for it or you can get it readily from amazon. It's worth it's weight in gold though and I'd urge anyone to buy it who comes across it for sale. A must for any fan of the Seattle movement and aforementioned bands and even for anyone who just wants some great songs pure and simple.

MY RATING: 10/10; a classic that rises above the rest
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on February 26, 2001
Some of these reviews blow me away- primarily those which expect this to be Pearl Jam (which I don't believe was even Mookie Blaylock yet), or Soundgarden. I can definitely understand confusion from people who are used to having their processed, refined 'Grunge(tm)' foisted upon them by way of a slick corporate marketing machine, but this also ain't that.
What it is would be 5 people grieving with instruments on a soundstage (well, 6- if you count Eddie Vedder's tag-team work on 'Hunger Strike' and background vocals elsewhere, which equate to little more than a cameo), putting it all on their sleeves while remembering their fallen comrade and lamenting his chemical Achilles' heel.
I would definitely agree that this is some of Chris Cornell's best work to date. It's a purely emotional and hauntingly beautiful experience- but if you prefer your music belt-sanded to a smooth finish and polished to the point of reflection or are just another Eddie Vedder fan looking for more of the same, then you might want to look elsewhere (or try the Creed album?). Cornell's point would probably be missed on you.
I'm on my 4th copy of this CD now (2 wear-outs and one theft- not counting the industry cassette I had back in '92 and wore to dust), and it only keeps getting better. Here's my 5 stars- I only wish *those* 5 stars (and maybe even the sixth) would get back together sometime without requiring another funeral to do so- and give us a taste of what it's like *after* the healing process.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2002
Before Pearl Jam came out with their first album and soundgarden really established themselves, they recorded this excellent tribute album to the recently deceased Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone.
With all the emotion involved, the members of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden united to create a truly amazing rock/grunge album.
The first track "Say Hello 2 Heaven" is a brilliant song with Cornell adding just the right amount of soul and tilt to the vocals. Excellent lyrics such as "words never listen and teachers never learn." Bolstered by a killer Mike McCready guiatr solo this is one of the best songs on the album.
Next comes the monster "Reach Down" with 11 minutes of guitar pyrotechniques by Stone Gossard and McCready. Cornell absolutely WAILS on this song with his unbelievable vocal range. If you dig long and loud guitar solos this is a great song, if you enjoy more punchier and concise solos this is most likely boring and you'll like the next song much better.
"Hunger Strike" follows next with the excellent interplay between Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell. This is the one song most people remember from this album mainly because it's played on the radio. It is a great song but a bit overrated.
Temple continues on with the rock atmosphere with "Pushin' Forward Back." This sounds like a demo from Pearl Jam's "Ten" with the soaring guitars and driving drums. The fake ending is a nice suprise too.
"Call Me a Dog" is a decent power ballad. Mike's solo is the high point and the song really builds to greatness at the end.
"Times of Trouble" is a blatant reference to Andrew Wood's drug problems which eventually killed him. This is one of the high points of the album especially with Cornell ripping it up on the Harmonica. Pearl Jam's song "Footsteps" has the same melody but with different lyrics and can be found on the "Jeremy" single.
Next comes "Wooden Jesus" and "Your Savior." In my opinion these are the low points of the album. There isn't a lot of musical development going on. Decent at best.
"Four Walled World" follows being one of if not THE best song on the album. Seven miuntes of pure grunge. All members contribute emensely to this track. Drummer Matt Cameron is pounding on the drums like his life depended on it, Stone provides a killer riff, Jeff's Bass is nicely present with some cool runs, Cornell is wailing his best and mike is spectaular on the end solo. All this leads up to a great ending with cornell crooning "oh yeah!!
"All Night Thing" is a nice breath of fresh air after the firestorm of "four walled world."
The is a fabulous album with so much emotion and great performances all around. If you're tired with all the radio friendly wanna be grunge bands (Creed, Nickelback, Puddle of Mudd, Staind, Bush, Default. None of them from Seattle I might add) this album is great. If you like guitar solos, superb drumming, soundgarden, pearl jam, grunge, rock and roll, excellent vocals, genuine emotion and just plain great music pick this up. As great as this album is, it gets better with each listen.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on August 25, 2004
Having been born late enough to pretty much completely miss the 'grunge' era, and having to suffer the horrific state of late 90's 'music', I only discovered Temple of the Dog last October.

Whoa.

This is an unbelieveable achievement. If this was a debut album rather than a one-off tribute, I'd say Temple of the Dog would be emblazoned on nearly everyone's mind by now.

It's too bad that the reason for this album is as tragic as it is. Mother Love Bone's resident genius, Andrew Wood, OD'd on heroin.

It seems wrong to take such delight in what is quite clearly Chris, Stone and Jeff mourning their good friend, but when an album contains such highlights as Call Me A Dog, Times of Trouble and Say Hello to Heaven, who can resist?

Of course, the track most people will buy the album for (myself included) is Hunger Strike, and this song more than lives up to whatever hype you've heard. A beautiful, haunting song, tender as only Chris' lyrics can be. The wonderful vocal harmonies Chris and Eddie serve up have to be heard to be believed.

This album is as touching as any rock album has ever been. Don't look at it as a grunge CD, or a rock CD, or even a eulogy to a late prodigy. Look at this as the work of art it truly is.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 1, 2000
Chris Cornell was motivated out of mourning to release this batch of sordid songs as a tribute to his former roommate Andrew Wood who dies of a heroin overdose. Andrew Wood's band included the backbone of Pearl Jam and they joined Chris for these songs. The sound is tremendous. Every song has classic Pearl Jam riffs, a Soundgarden percussion and Chris Cornell's vocals overseeing it with the exception of "Hunger Strike" which could be a Pearl Jam tune since Eddie Vedder sings lead. Cornell seems more relaxed in the Temple recording than he did later in the year when Badmotorfinger was released. The mourning maybe caused that relaxation-morbidness- but it couldn't have suited the album better. After the first two songs recorded both in tribute to Andrew are over, and both songs "Reach Down" and "Say Hello 2 Heaven" are great, Cornell reached deep into his life and pulled out some of the best lyrics in the history of rock. "Call Me a Dog" is Pygmalion reversed. "Times of Trouble" is the best eulogy Cornell could give his friend even though the first two songs were meant as the eulogy. When Cornell sings, "Don't kill your time" you're almost sure he's thought about it himself and we can all thank God that he came back down. Temple of the Dog is a remarkable album in all aspects.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on August 28, 2001
Temple Of The Dog is a creation arising out of tragic circumstances. Friends (Chris Cornell, Matt Cameron), bandmates (Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard) and hired guns (Eddie Vedder, Mike McCready) come together in this dedication to Andrew Wood; lead singer of the seminal Seattle band Mother Love Bone. Wood died of a heroin overdose in 1990, with most of his band eventually moving on to form the backbone of Pearl Jam. One might think with the rise of Pearl Jam around this time, that this would be a spotlight for Pearl Jam members; but Soundgarden's Chris Cornell shines through with an absolutely stellar performance. Writing or co-writing every song on this disc, Cornell shows a side of his music that wouldn't normally appear through Soundgarden's dense and furious outings. Chris' tributes to his friend, Andrew, are primarily 'Say Hello To Heaven' and the opus 'Reach Down', although other songs appear to be tributes as well. These two songs, above all others, exude the sorrow and frustration of losing a dear friend. Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell perform the radio-friendly duet 'Hunger Strike', Eddie also providing backing vocals on a few tracks including the anguished 'Four Walled World'. Other highlights include 'Call Me A Dog', 'Your Savior' and 'Times Of Trouble'; a track who Stone Gossard later used the main riff in 'Footsteps' during Pearl Jam's performance on Rockline. The album closer 'All Night Thing' is a seductive, relaxing tune that provides a little therapy for the listeners that have just listened to the personal torment that Temple Of The Dog has just put them through. Some might think that this is a "Soundgarden Light" album, but this is hardly the case. There are some heavy topics and themes but accompanied with some beautiful rhythms. At other times you have some (for lack of a better word) grungy songs with passionate vocals by Chris. Generally its a musical and emotional rollercoaster.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2006
I bought this as a tape when I was a broke kid in the nineties having never heard a single track but already being a fan of Pearl Jam, Nirvana, and Soundgarden. This was a big risk for my empty wallet and the best purchase I ever made. With this album I fell in love with Chris Cornell as a songwriter and his voice became etched in my head. This music has been described as getting you through black days, well it took me through high school and some crazy turmoil. To this day, about 15 yrs. later every lyric is ingrained in my memory and evokes the same feeling. This is the best album I own period and I've had to update a bit and buy the CD too. I guess you could call it an album worth buying twice, take that for what its worth.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 1999
Temple of the Dog is assuredly one of the top 10 best rock albums ever recorded to my way of thinking. Chris Cornell's song-writing shines, suggesting a level of thought and sensitivity seen but not fully realized in the music of Soundgarden. Temple of the Dog is a treat for any listener who enjoys the juxtaposition of grinding, high-pitched passionate wails and deep, somber baritone expression, as well as the combination of driving rock rythms and contemplative soul-explorations. Before Chris came out with Euphoria Morning, I always said that he was clearly the best aspect of Soundgarden. I also said that the best Soundgarden album was not by Soundgarden, but rather by Temple of the Dog. Chris's solo debut confirmed these initial suspicions and further explored the promise revealed in Temple of the Dog, establishing Chris as one of the very best singer/songwriters in rock today or any time. I would put this album and Chris's first solo album in the same category of quality successive albums as Operation Mindcrime and Empire by Queensryche, or Pull and thisconversationseemslikeadream by Winger / Kip Winger. While Queensryche seems to have somehow lost its inspirational way, I hope that Chris continues to venture down the path laid by Temple of the Dog and Euphoria Morning. If he can continue to approach this level of singing and songwriting, I believe he is destined to go down as a legend along with such groundbreaking bands as Led Zeppelin and Fleetwood Mac (a la Rumors). Chris, please keep the music coming, and don't make us wait too long.
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