Category Archives: Alice in Chains

Facelift-ALICE IN CHAINS-1990

Many bands on their debut album do not exactly know what is gonna sound good and what they are best at. Therefore, we find many debut albums where there was no focus and it ended up in a mish mash, with a lot of different things being tried out. Sometimes great bands find that they are good at most of it, and therefore the experiment is a success, but most good bands find that they are competent at most things but deadly at only one. I suppose that was the state of Alice in Chains at the time of this, their debut. They tried punk, funk etc, and most of the album drags. However, the first four songs completely rock and are classics, and should be there on any AIC compilation album. Those ones are of course in many ways the precursor to Dirt and are the stylistic origins of AIC. I have already described those in my ramblings on Dirt and Jar of Flies. However, the only song that would have fitted well on Dirt is the opener itself, “We Die Young” which is in many ways the signature AIC song, and a little disturbing seeing as what happened in the course of the following decade or so.

I can be accused of not having heard closely what happens after those 4 beauties, but I shall tell you straight up that I have hardly heard anything to note closely, other than that there is an RHCP flavour to some songs, which hardly sits well with me. I like the death and desperation style and feeling better guys. Feels like AIC. Feels metal.

Recommended Songs- We Die Young, Man in the Box, Sea of Sorrow, Bleed the Freak, and trust me, these are very, very good.

- Baba T




Black Gives Way to Blue-ALICE IN CHAINS-2009

Alice in Chains is back? It is still functioning? They got a replacement for Layne Staley? WTF? And to top it all, the album is good? You gotta be kiddin me?

Nevertheless, all of those things happened. I had already resigned myself to the fact that AIC was not a going concern, as dead as Nirvana. To see them back in action is good, and the best part is that the album is cool. It is unfair to compare this with Dirt and Jar of Flies, cause that is brilliance that comes to a man once in a lifetime, and for Cantrell and Co to deny that fact would be useless. Their best is behind them. However, they still make good metal music. Or rather Cantrell does. The man has the lone song credits for all the songs on here except for 2. So, yes in part this does become a solo Jerry Cantrell album, which by itself is not a bad thing (I have heard Degradation Trip and it aint half bad man)

So what are they sounding like? They are still AIC, and they sound like the old AIC, and William Duvall (Staley’s replacement) sounds like Staley, without trying. Its not Staley, but he does the job well. You just cannot deny it. All the depression is back, but its a case of them washing it all away, a sort of a send off to the whole era (All Secrets Known). Cantrell’s signature guitar riffs and quirky riffs that seem to go one way but go the other way, are also back and in place. These songs are typical AIC and make a worthy addition to the old songs. It took some time for them to sink in, but they did, and I am getting a kick out of them now. I have always maintained that AIC are one of the best bands of the 90’s era of Alt Rock, and these guys perfectly molded the sludgy grungy riffs into their style of heavy metal.

Fare thee Well Staley.

AIC’s acoustic side was one of the first things that made me like their music (aka Jar of Flies..lets say Nutshell, Rotten Apples) and it is back here. “Your Decision” is a fine example of that, but particularly the piano tinged title track, AIC’s tribute to their former bandmate and frontman is the standout track on here. (Elton John makes a guest appearance on the piano btw). A great farewell for Layne Staley.

Recommended Songs? The title track, Private Hell, Take Her Out, All Secrets Known, A Looking in View, Acid Bubble (this one especially)

Definetly recommended. Sounds Right.

-Baba T



Jar of Flies EP-ALICE IN CHAINS-1994

Repulsive but beautiful..the AIC story

Repulsive but beautiful..the AIC story

How amazing is this EP?? Darned amazing lemme tell you. It is not much but a bunch of quiet, and melodic (albeit in a strange way, check out “I Stay Away” to see what I mean.) guitar drenched numbers. You can see them sitting on their comfy sofas and playing this stuff. It is quiet but not laid back, as was always the case where Layne Staley got involved, rather the pain and despair is suppressed but always there. These are sad songs, ladies and gentlemen. 

The guitar work is excellent. Look at “Rotten Apples” maybe the best song AIC ever did. Just look at the way the feedback is used. The WOUWOUWOUWOU sound. Yes, that one.

Just a note to all the death metal, black metal, math core, metal core, thrash metal, dark metal, soft metal, ass metal, new metal, nu metal, industrial metal, garbage metal, goth metal, Christian metal, symphonic metal, symphonic progressive metal, progressive metal, melodic thrash metal, etc etc., read the next para, if you will please.

Pain, agony, despair, lust need not always be expressed by shredding your guitar and bashing your drums and screaming lyrics in a way that no one can understand. It can be done in a soft gentle way that at the same time is harsh and bleak. For reference, listen to Jar of Flies.

And yes, I am sick of all the B-movie horror imagery. Stop insulting our intelligence.

I guess its too late.

Anyways, this EP is the perfect companion to Dirt. While that one had loads of dirty heavy metal riffs bursting at the seam and lots of tortured screaming, this one finds Staley in quiet despair. Please, for the love of Satan, listen to this. HAHAHAHAHHA !!!!!!!!!

Baba T

Dirt – ALICE IN CHAINS – 1992

You want dirtiness, ugliness, depression? You want kick your ass rock’n’rollah? You want heavy music that is heavy without trying to be? One where the vocalist is a vocalist and not a grinding machine soundalike? You want great tunes about drugs? You want some beautiful acoustic goodness?



Its all on here and it will never be done better again. Ever again. Layne Staley just sounds drugged out, and in all probability, I guess, he was. This here monster just explodes into your face with “Them bones”. And I mean explodes. A long shriek, a cry of pain and desperation, of anger and frustration and some heavy, heavy riffing. That’s nice and cozy. And the goodness just continues with Dam That River. Oh my gawd. These songs just come into your consciousness and just stick there. The only songs that are not absolutely A grade here, which you can safely avoid without feeling that you have missed anything are God Smack, Iron Gland and Hate to Feel. Just unmemorable, trudging along riffs on those. As for the rest, download it, steal it, buy it, do what you like, but if you are a true fan of heavy music (no heavy music does not mean playing a downtuned guitar at 1000rpm and have a guy scream along on top. NO.) You cannot miss these songs.

These songs are not to be played if you are suffering from depression though. You might just kill yourself. The absolute, goddamn bottomline is that this album kicks some serious butt providing non stop rock’n’roll entertainment, so that you can headbang along, very slowly of course. The absolute best.

And that is the bottomline. HERE.

Baba T


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