Too Late to Stop Now
Mother Love Bone / Temple of the Dog / Soundgarden / Tad
Reviewed by Michael Toland, Fri., Dec. 16, 2016
Mother Love BoneOn Earth as It Is: The Complete Works (Monkeywrench)
Temple of the DogTemple of the Dog: Deluxe Edition (A&M)
SoundgardenBadmotorfinger: Super Deluxe Edition (A&M)
TadGod’s Balls/Salt Lick/8-Way Santa (Sub Pop)
Thanks to a Gen X alt-rock revival, the time is ripe to revisit the Pacific Northwest's heaviest export: grunge. Although inextricably linked thanks to future Pearl Jam founders Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament, Mother Love Bone was never grunge. 1989's Shine EP and lone LP Apple (1990), whose release fell victim to a fatal heroin overdose by guiding light Andrew Wood days before its debut, sound like a glam-fisted psychedelic Guns N' Roses. The 3-CD/1-DVD On Earth as It Is: The Complete Works reiterates that the best material appeared on the group's two official discs, but fanatics will flip for footnotes like the acoustic "Bloody Shame" and a moving demo of "Chloe Dancer." Following the singer's premature death, Gossard and Ament joined Soundgarden's Chris Cornell and Matt Cameron, plus PJ recruits Mike McCready and Eddie Vedder, for Wood eulogy Temple of the Dog. Soaked in grief, the 1991 album was a surprise hit, its soulful take on heavy rock – including the debut of shrieker Cornell's now-familiar croon – highlighting the catalogs of everyone involved. A quarter century after their initial bow, "Say Hello 2 Heaven" and "Reach Down" still carry the weight of their creators' loss. The deluxe edition includes demos, outtakes, and a pair of unreleased tracks. While the rest of the Dog launched Pearl Jam, Cornell and Cameron rejoined Soundgarden for 1991's Badmotorfinger, the album on which the band coalesced its vision. Roiling post-punk doom metal consumes surrealist angst for a series of tank-heavy anthems ranging from the hooky ("Outshined") to just plain weird ("Slaves & Bulldozers"). Making the band headliners, it remains their best album. The 4-CD/2-DVD/1-Blu-ray audio disc Super Deluxe Edition gathers outtakes, unreleased songs, and a smoking 1992 live show. Led by rotund ex-butcher Tad Doyle, TAD was the odd band out of Seattle grunge: uglier, burlier, and more single-minded than their brothers in fuzz. Expanded reissues of 1989's God's Balls, 1990's Salt Lick, and 1991's 8-Way Santa stomp lead-foot rhythms, razor riffs, and Doyle's woodchipper growl. Raging high point, 8-Way Santa offers numerous bonus tracks, although the original cover remains litigated into oblivion.