Review Summary: A very solid tribute to an up and coming Seattle-area vocalist, Temple of the Dog is a mostly good album with no filler to speak of, but those expecting a true mixing of styles will be disappointed2 of 2 thought this review was well written
Temple of the Dog is:
Jeff Ament – bass guitar, art direction and design, photography
Matt Cameron – drums, percussion
Chris Cornell – vocals, banjo on "Wooden Jesus", harmonica on "Times of Trouble"
Stone Gossard – rhythm guitar, slide guitar, acoustic guitar
Mike McCready – lead guitars
Eddie Vedder – backing vocals on "Pushin Forward Back", "Your Saviour", and "Four Walled World", vocals on "Hunger Strike"
This is a fantastic tribute effort and collaboration from two of the grunge scene's biggest act, before they got big. Unlike some tribute albums, this one seems heartfelt and its obvious that alot of effort was put into the making of it, espically by Chris Cornell, who goes above and beyond as a songwriter/vocalist on this album. More than any album Chris has recorded with any other group, his vocals shine on every song here. The duet between Eddie and Chris on "Hunger Strike" was excellent and tastefully done, it left me wanting more, and if they had done atleast two more songs with Eddie and Chris trading off lead vocals, this would likely be a 4.5.
Seeing as probably 6/10 of the songs on this album (the exceptions being Pushin Forward Back, Wooden Jesus, Your Savior, and Reach Down) are ballads, some parts tend to drag along, all the songs are excellent by themselves, but when it's one sad, slow song after another, the album's overall feel is impacted. Maybe i feel this way simply because, seeing as its Pearl Jam + Soundgarden, i was expecting something more like 2/10 to be ballads.
It's tough to fault the instrumentation on this album, Matt does a great job as always of bringing life to what should be one tedious beat keeping song after another, and gets a bit of the spotlight on Wooden Jesus (the opening drum beat is one that is VERY similar to a later Pearl Jam song, "Grievance"). The guitars are great on some tracks, competent on others, but they never seem bland or lifeless. As could be expected from an album consisting mostly of songs at a slow tempo, the bass does suffer a bit, at best being barely audible as an endless string of sustains, others being all but mixed out of the production.