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Temple Of The Dog - Temple Of The Dog album review

Stardog champions reissued with a 25th anniversary mix

Temple Of The Dog album cover

Having long-since passed into legend, 1991’s Temple Of The Dog is a rare beast indeed, a genuine rock’n’roll unicorn. An album with its genesis rooted in tragedy – the heroin-overdose death of Mother Love Bone singer Andrew Wood – its original 10 tracks were a kind of catharsis through music.

Wood’s close friend Chris Cornell wrote two tracks to begin with, Say Hello 2 Heaven and Reach Down, before the tribute turned into a full album with Mother Love Bone’s Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament, Mike McCready, Soundgarden’s Matt Cameron and Eddie Vedder all contributing.

Recorded with no commercial expectations over a handful of weekends at the end of 1990, it’s music made purely for the sake of it – stress-free and simple. It captured a nascent Pearl Jam before Ten shot them to stardom, and before Soundgarden went stratospheric with Badmotorfinger, and still represents some of the finest music those bands ever recorded.

This 25th-anniversary mix has a touch more clarity and dynamic punch, and, naturally, there’s an abundance of extras: new alternative mixes of Say Hello 2 Heaven, Wooden Jesus and All Night Thing, and a second disc of mostly previously unreleased demos and out-takes. The two most interesting tracks are the ropiest-sounding: demos Angel Of Fire and Black Cat, the latter’s spare hypnotic rhythms presumably deemed too much of a clash with the sparse percussive drive of Wooden Jesus to make the final cut. All together, Temple Of The Dog is a landmark release that’s now even more indispensable.

Whether it’s magazines, books or online, Essi has been writing about rock ’n’ metal for around thirty years. He has been reviews editor for Classic Rock and Metal Hammer, rock reviews editor for lads mag Front and worked for Kerrang!. He has also written the Rough Guide to Heavy Metal and contributed to the Rough Guide to Rock and Rough Guide Book of Playlists, and the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles (13th edition). Most fun interview? Tenacious D – Jack Black and Kyle Gass – for The Pick of Destiny movie book. An avid record/CD/tape collector, he’s amassed more music than he could ever possibly listen to, which annoys his wife no end.