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iTunes Review

Alice in Chains were the darkest group to emerge from the grunge explosion of the early ‘90s. Where other groups balanced their moody extremes with pop hooks (Nirvana) or anthemic riffs (Pearl Jam, Soundgarden), Alice in Chains did not believe in balance. As Led Zeppelin fans who worshipped Zep’s eerie, middle-eastern, modal and minor key explorations, Alice in Chains added excessive harmonies to its dense guitar clusters and wrote songs that seemed to be almost exclusively about heroin and the junkie’s vacillation between feelings of endless cravings, powerlessness and numb apathy. Singer Layne Staley eventually died at the hands of his addiction and Dirt remains one of the most disturbing looks at a wasted life. “Junkhead,” “God Smack,” “Hate to Feel,” “Down in a Hole,” “Sickman,” the procession of tunes is relentlessly bleak. Couple this with the group’s stuttering rhythms and sinister guitar riffs and Dirt is one long slide down to the bottom of Dante’s Inferno. It’s frightening in its intensity and its mastery of a world Black Sabbath once merely suggested.

Customer Reviews

Pop?

if there is someone out there that controls genres that had the idea of changing this album to pop (it was Rock last week) he deserves a punch in the face. This could not be further from pop. Layne Staley would roll over in his grave if he knew something as big as itunes was accusing his music of being pop. As for the album, it is beyond my description how good it is. It includes 8 songs out of its 13 total that i listen to almost once a day: Them Bones, Down In a Hole, Sickman, Rooster, Junkhead (my favorite song of all time), God Smack, Angry Chair, and Would?. Not that the other songs aren't nearly as good, it just is this album's greatness overwhelms them. The tracks Dam That River and Dirt are also worth frequent listens. In my opinion this is the best CD of the grunge era. It is a CD that is dark, but not afraid to be melodic at the same time, as a pose to AIC's first CD, Facelift, which was very dark, with near no melodic interludes, not that it didn't also have a handful of great songs on it. Anyone should be able to feel the fear and anger from a self aware, yet helpless heroin addict. This pain in Layne Staley's music cannot be faked or duplicated.

Simply The Best You Will Find

Who writes the blurbs that appear on these albums pages? They focus on the heroin theme of this album as a detriment and emphasize the production of the self-titled follow up. Excuse me, but are we here for art or are we here to judge the artists lifestyles (see: hilton, paris)? I'm sorry, but this is very simply THE BEST FREAKIN' ALBUM ALICE IN CHAINS EVER CRANKED OUT. They were a great band with an uneven output, and everything clicked on this release. Small comfort against his much later overdose, but Layne's addicition imbues this album with a coherency missing on every other Alice effort. Facelift is a more-than-decent debut, and the eponymous one holds within it's over-produced folds some could-be-great songs. The acoustic EP's also contain some existential moments. But LISTEN TO ME, Alice In Chains would not have a place in MF'n music history were it not for Dirt. Anyone who likes heavier music should not only own this album but study it on a regular basis to see what guts really are. Layne didn't just sit back and drift into a drug-induced coma. At least, not until he had expressed exactly what he was going through. You hear Dirt and you feel his pain. You feel the pain of inadequacy, angst, paranoia, hope, despondency and revelation. This album should be fed to every child upon reaching adolesence. The rest of you can get lost in the harmonies on the next album. Anyone with any feeling will know wherein greatness lies.

Second To None!

Whoever listed this as pop will not get the benefit of the doubt from me. A big "HEE-HAW" to you my friend. This album is far too big for that. With that off of my chest let me jump up on my soapbox and declare that this album is nothing less than a god among rock/metal/grunge albums (who cares? it's all ROCK!). Absolutely second to none. I'm almost thirty and this is still my favorite record of all time-since it's release. It falls short of nothing-from the cover art to the last cry of Staley's voice on (the greatest of all songs) Would?. Buy it twice! One for the car and one for your collection!

Biography

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...
Full Bio

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