Temple of the Dog
Temple of the Dog



by TheGreatD17 USER (16 Reviews)
November 18th, 2007 | 255 replies

Release Date: 1991 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Do you like Pearl Jam and/or Soundgarden? Well then you should like this.

Temple of the Dog was a strange entity; its members came from two of the most successful rock bands of the nineties, Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, yet it would be incorrect to call them a supergroup, since every one of those members was a virtual unknown at the time of the band’s only release. This eponymous album was written primarily by Chris Cornell as a tribute to Andrew Wood, the lead singer of the glam rock band Mother Love Bone, who died of a heroin overdose in March of 1990. The rest of the line-up was rounded out by Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron, guitarist Stone Gossard, and bassist Jeff Ament, the latter two being former members of Mother Love Bone and future members of Pearl Jam. The album was originally released in December of 1990, but it did not chart until 1992 when the record label decided to reap some benefits from Soundgarden and Pearl Jam’s recent commercial breakthroughs.

The music itself is surprisingly good, when you really think about the situation. The band was only together for a few months, but you never get the feeling that these guys were unfamiliar or uncomfortable playing with each other, whereas another Cornell project, Audioslave, took three albums to truly, successfully fuse the different styles of its members. Most surprisingly though is Chris Cornell, who up to this point had only played metal music. Superunknown was a long way in the future when this was made, but he managed to write ten songs, all of which were influenced by bluesy seventies rock, with very few traces of metal influence.

In fact, the band hardly ever rocks out, with the exception of the eleven minute epic, “Reach Down,” the hyper “Pushing Forward Back,” and “Your Savior,” the music is very much light. Ballads abound, most notably on the opener, “Say Hello 2 Heaven,” which is possibly the greatest vocal performance of Chris Cornell’s career, and “Hunger Strike,” the most known Temple of the Dog song, which features Eddie Vedder singing alongside Cornell, with results as great as they should be. While the mostly softer music might not sound appealing to some grunge fans, it is really what makes this record great. The heavier tracks are okay, but none are highlights, and they feel forced at times, while the lighter music is on a higher level lyrically and musically, and feel more appropriate on an album that is a tribute to someone who passed away.

The playing on the album is top notch, as is to be expected with such talented musicians, but Temple of the Dog is not about the playing, it is about the vocals. Cornell wails and soars as he always has, but he is much more controlled on this record, keeping it soulful and never approaching the screams that can be heard on Soundgarden albums. The combined performances from all ten songs equate to the best vocal album that Cornell has ever recorded, and a strong rival to Jeff Buckley’s Grace for best vocal album of the decade.

A surprising number of people who are fans of Soundgarden and Pearl Jam are unfamiliar with Temple of the Dog, and it is a shame, because it easily ranks amongst the best albums that the group’s members have recorded, and even the best grunge albums period. Many albums like this made by other musicians are really gimmicky and only of interest to die-hard fans, but this is a well made, focused record that really can appeal to any fan of good rock music.

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user ratings (641)
other reviews of this album
DallaShepherd (3.5)
A very solid tribute to an up and coming Seattle-area vocalist, Temple of the Dog is a mostly good a...

MrGoldenWords (5)
A vintage performance from some of the best musicians of their generation....

angelo_d_necro (5)

somon (4.5)
I can't really imagine how anyone who loves rock would not like this album. It has great members yet...

Comments:Add a Comment 
November 18th 2007


Good review.

When I was a massive Soundgarden fan in high school I had heard of this project but never chased it up, later on a work manager of mine I met a while later had the CD and showed it to me.

From what I got out of it it was pure technicality on all sides, the guitarists going nuts, Chris Cornell wailing his heart out, everything. It seemed a good tribute to their friend who died, I haven't listened to it since though I might have to.

November 18th 2007


I'm not much of a grunge fan, as I only have a few grunge albums, but this stuff is pretty great. Definitely a fantastic representative of some of the peaks of grunge.

EDIT: Gah, how could I be so heartless! This review is good by the way!This Message Edited On 11.18.07

November 18th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

Apart from the somewhat sub-par production this is an excellent album. Reach Down, Hunger Strike and Your Savior are amazing.

Nice review btw.

November 18th 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

I think this is the album where chris cornell finally finds his singing voice... before this he was very shrill.

November 18th 2007


Album Rating: 3.0

4.5 seems a little high but this album's got a few great tracks. cornell and vedder should hook up again. i mean they both had time for recent solo projects...

March 5th 2009


Say Hello 2 Heaven ftw

March 15th 2009


Album Rating: 4.0

Temple of the Dog = awesome. I should have looked into this before.

July 22nd 2009


Album Rating: 5.0

review is soso, mind that more than 3 millions copies were sold, that is more than most PJ or Soungarden records !

The sincereness, intensity and integrity of this record is unseen.

No filler, no song that is less than very good, and a diversity that is only suprassed by PJ's no code, in short a classic, indeed one of the 90's best albums.

October 6th 2009


Hunger Strike is an incredible song.

Digging: Big Sugar - Heated

October 6th 2009


Yeah deroeckj, so if an album sells 3 million copies it MUST be good!

I do like this album though.

October 29th 2009


Album Rating: 2.0

sorry, but I've had this album for 2 years now and I still don't find it good. Except Hunger Strike, which kicks ass.

November 11th 2009


Album Rating: 4.5

Call Me a Dog and Times of Trouble are two underrated and kick ass songs.

April 21st 2010


Album Rating: 5.0

best band and album of the grunge era, and a must you should hear before you die in the top ten of best albums ever (in my opinion) very sad this group is often forgotten about a true gem!

April 21st 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

Love this album.

June 27th 2010


I like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, but I don't like Temple of the Dog; I find the repetitiveness of the songs to be a major flaw. Good review though.

August 26th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

Not a big fan of Soundgarden, had moments with Pearl Jam. This though...this is pretty fucking gold, reminds me more of other 90's alt-rock bands. Mother Love Bone was kinda cool too, so was a pretty slick find

August 26th 2010


Album Rating: 4.0

dis is coor

October 11th 2010


I don't mind, stealing bread.

January 21st 2011


Album Rating: 5.0

Adore this album, so glad to have heard Chris Cornell play 'Say Hello To Heaven' on his solo tour a few years back.

February 18th 2011


Album Rating: 4.5

hunger strike ftw

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