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MTV Unplugged: Alice In Chains (Live)

Alice In Chains

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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 band would ever release. [The Japanese version adds two remixes of "Again."]

Customer Reviews

jive turkey reviewer

great band, great music. every song is a gem.

Transcend

This album never fails to weave new worlds in my mind. Sitting back, with my headphones on and a glass of wine in my hand, I take a trip to the unknown every time I press play.

BUY

I've listened to a lot of live music, and this is by far one of the greatest I have ever heard. The sombreness of the music, the emotion in every word, the sound quality are all astounding. If you like Alice In Chains just for their metal sound, then you may not like this album. But if you like them for their songs and their acoustic EPs, the you'll LOVE this. Either way, you should buy it, because you'll hear all your favourite songs in a way you never thought imaginable, and it will be amazing.

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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