Review Summary: I can't really imagine how anyone who loves rock would not like this album. It has great members yet great chemistry, anything to make it perfect. Well, almost perfect.
How I see it, Temple of the Dog is the definitive grunge album (and band, basically). I think they represent everything that is good in grunge: Soft ballads along with hard-rock riff-based rockers. Long songs (and the 11 minutes Reach Down portrays it well) along with shorter hits (Hunger Strike, I suppose). It's a pretty versatile album, but there is still a solid style and connection between the songs.
For a little background - Temple of the Dog
is a sort of a grunge supergroup formed in 1990 in memory of Mother Love Bone's vocalist Andrew Wood. This "supergroup" had 6 members, that includes the great Chriss Cornell on vocals (and he never sounded better), Matt Cameron on drums as another [L]Soundgarden[L] member Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard as bassist and guitarist, and of course, Mike McCready as another guitarist (a damn good one) and Eddie Vader for fainting vocals, both will become the future Pearl Jam.
So, we got all those great musicians (even if some of them don't know they're great) and a lot could go wrong due to bad chemistry and ego fights. Luckily, it didn't. At all.
They really seem connected like they have been playing for years. Chris Cornell who shines in probably every song including the opening Say Hello 2 Heaven, does an amazing job but still doesn't take over too much. We still hear the guitars just running solos like there's no tomorrow, especially on Reach Down. It starts out with a good riff and Cornells finest work, but dat jam in the middle is what it's all about. Well, it's not more than just fainting bass and guitar, but the solo is so interesting you feel like it can go on for hours. Not to mention the vocal solo (sort of) Chris and Eddie do (and I mean the "Carry back in your hands, To the promised land" part).
I'll move on to the rest of the tracks that very somewhere from very good to wonderful and from ballads to rockers. Pushing Forward Back is a very forward song, Your Savior and Four Walled World does a great fricking job (although it's a bit too long). The ballads are sometimes a bit weaker, as I don't adore Wooden Jesus so much, and Hunger Strike is too easily a hit. But my favorite song here seems to be Times of Trouble. This acoustic ballad (sort of) has an awesome acoustic riff and great lyrics with good melody from Chornell. But I think what makes it even greater is the adaption, starting with the piano that really adds to the mood (I have no idea who plays it), but that keyboard solo at the middle feels so good.
So yeah. It is the definitive grunge album, and it contains members from two of the greatest grunge bands. It got his flaws, but I will always look at it at the best grunge album ever.