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Customer Review

89 of 95 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Toast of Seattle -- "Just music to make music", May 29, 2000
This review is from: Temple Of The Dog (Audio CD)
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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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 2, 2007 9:11:47 PM PDT
Suzanne says:
I was with you up until the part about "great grunge was never dumb music like 80's metal". To be fair, 80's hair metal could barely be called music as it was 85% image and 15% music. Even the "best" bands of that genre didn't do their best work until they shed the glam image.

However, REAL 80's metal - IE, the underground stuff - produced some incredibly intelligent music (maybe not as intelligent lyrics, but truly intelligent music). Even though they've become cliche' now, Metallica's 80's output is still incredible if taken in context. They were experimenting with compositional ideas that hadn't been used in popular music for a long, long time. They almost had a progressive style but still embodied metal.

On the heavier front, the underground death metal movement begain experimenting with even more radical musical ideas. And even Iron Maiden - whose image may be really silly - are still a musical force to be reckoned with. I don't know of another band that has written more memorable melodies and hooks throughout the years as they have.

So don't be so quick to put down 80s metal. Throughout the years, metal has been one of the few genres to continually progress and evolve and take on more and more complex musical ideas. It's not the dumb, testosterone fueled genre it was 30 years ago. As intense as it may get, the best of it is also really intelligent too.

In reply to an earlier post on May 31, 2007 8:34:49 AM PDT
Sal Nudo says:
Agreed! I actually wrote this review a long time ago, and now have a soft spot in my heart for '80s metal. In fact, I miss it! Thanks for the comment,

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Sal Nudo

Location: Champaign, Illinois

Top Reviewer Ranking: 11,606