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Alice In Chains: Live

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Album Review

Dispelling rumors of their demise due to Layne Staley's heroin addiction, Alice in Chains is a sonically detailed effort that ranks as their best-produced record, and its best moments are easily some of their most mature music. Alice in Chains relies less on metallic riffs and more on melody and texturally varied arrangements than the group's previous full-length albums, finally integrating some of the more delicate acoustic moods of their EPs. The lyrics deal with familiar AIC subject matter — despair, misery, loneliness, and disappointment — but in a more understated fashion, and the lyrics take on more uplifting qualities of toughness and endurance, which were missing from much of their previous work. The consistent visceral impact Alice in Chains lacks in comparison to that previous work is partially made up for by the skilled production and songs like "Grind," "Brush Away," "Over Now," and the hit ballad "Heaven Beside You," which are among the band's best work. Still, in spite of its many virtues, it's hard not to feel a little frustrated with the record, as though, given those qualities, it should have turned out better than it did — there are some slow spots where the songs are undercrafted and not especially memorable, and those moments can make the band sound uncommitted and distracted. That, in turn, can make the defiance of songs like "Grind" ("you'd be well advised/not to plan my funeral 'fore the body dies") sound more like denial; just when Alice in Chains' music was finally beginning to emerge from the dark side, the intra-band problems became too much to bear and made Alice in Chains the last collection of new material the Staley-fronted AIC would release.

Customer Reviews


They deserved way more praise than Nirvana. AIC...way more talented.

AIC Live - The Studio Masters Meet Their Toughest Test

Alice In Chains relied heavily on production in the studio. Harmonies, Multi-track guitar leads/rhythms, Background vocals, etc. That, combined with the necessary and omnipresent volatility of the band, makes this live set a true test of AIC and their translation from the studio to the stage. With this in mind you can notice where some of the denser songs thin out (and why). Listen to "Them Bones" and "Man In The Box" to see AIC struggle to keep their trademark density during a live set. These songs show the magic of the dichotomy between Layne and Jerry. Layne and Jerry support each other's vocals in key spots and the rhythm section pumps up to thicken guitar solos which, otherwise would sound weak in comparison to their studio work. AIC LIVE is an awesome study in a band rising to meet challenges. Beyond that, they will blow you away with "Love, Hate, Love", "Bleed The Freak", and "Dam That River". A masterpiece and what should be the gold standard of all live albums coming out today.

I Like It!

Alice in Chains ROCKS!! Layne Staley was the Best! I have to agree this album isnt their best work but I still like it and added it to my collection. Bleed the freak was great!, Queen of the Rodeo is Funny! Its true Man in the box was done with less feeling than Ive heard LS sing it before but everyone has off days. He always put his heart and soul into his music and it showed. He sang with feeling. The music the lyrics meant something to him. He wasnt in it just for the money. He inspired so many people and some of those people now have groups of their own that we now enjoy. So he had an off night BIG DEAL. I still enjoy the CD and for true AiC fans its a must have. I like the little extras it has in between some songs. ;) lol I would LOVE to see iTunes get more AiC videos and concerts on video. I have requested it but havent seen any so far.


Formed: 1987 in Seattle, WA

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

In many ways, Alice in Chains was the definitive heavy metal band of the early '90s. Drawing equally from the heavy riffing of post-Van Halen metal and the gloomy strains of post-punk, the band developed a bleak, nihilistic sound that balanced grinding hard rock with subtly textured acoustic numbers. They were hard enough for metal fans, yet their dark subject matter and punky attack placed them among the front ranks of the Seattle-based grunge bands. While this dichotomy helped the group soar to...
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