Temple of the Dog is as much fun as any wake is likely to be. Featuring members of two proudly Led Zeppelin-influenced bands from Seattle, Soundgarden and the defunct Mother Love Bone, the ad hoc Temple is meant as a tribute of sorts to Mother Love Bone’s singer-songwriter, Andrew Wood, who died of a heroin overdose last year. Maybe because the musicians avoid the often-labored anthems they play with their own bands, the songs sound relaxed and airy without losing any of the crunch or drive of the best arena rock. There are delicate dirges, fresh-faced headbanging stompers, even something of an alternative-rock power ballad (”Say Hello to Heaven,” about Wood). Singer Chris Cornell’s lyrics remain as annoyingly oblique as they are with Soundgarden, but don’t worry. Just sit back and revel in the whomping guitars of Mike McCready and Love Bone member Stone Gossard as they mesh with the imaginative pummeling of Soundgarden drummer Matt Cameron — the untamed side of the much-hyped Seattle sound, in all its wailing glory. B+

Temple of the Dog
  • Music