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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 Staley-fronted AIC would release.

Customer Reviews

A heart wreching album.

I never disliked this album, however i did always feel it was the weakest of their 3 full length records. If you feel the same way you should sit down and give it a good listen, with a little you patience can acquire a taste for this music and perhaps it'll grow on you like it did me. This album can hold it's own with "Facelift" & "Dirt" as far as i'm concerned. 1. Grind- A song I felt was overated, but with time i now appreciate it. Its got the best solo on the album. 7.5 2. Brush Away- Cool intsrumentals, but i think the vocals could've been taken in a better direction. Not bad, not spectacular. 6.5 3. Sludge Factory- Might be a better song unplugged since it doesn't have the annoying harmony in the pre- chorus. A must have track with a great chorus and verse. 8.5 4. Heaven Beside You- Most popular track. Good harmonies, unique and catchy. Lots of dimension. 8.5 5. Head Creeps- I like the music but i feel the vocals could've been better. It's alright. 7 6. Again- A popular song which i never really got into but i can see why others did. Its catchy and has some really cool sounding lead. 7.5 7. Shame in You- A great track with so much emotion. Theres so many great riffs in this song and it's one of Layne's best performances on the record. 9. 8. God Am- Probably my favorite song on the album. It has a heavy verse which not everyone likes but i do. The Chorus is beautiful and has a great vocal melody. I can't help but think it should of had a solo though. 9. 9. So Close- Not too satisfying. "Them Bones" has the right to be as short as it is because the solo redeem's it's length, But this song is really lacking in all catagories. 6 10. Nothin' Song- A dark yet catchy tune which i enjoy listening to. An essential track. 8 11. Frogs- Was once my least favorite AIC song. Now it has a lot of meaning to me and i think if you dislike it you should give it a second listen. The chorus is fantastically sad and always hits the spot. 12. Over Now- The light part unexpectadly went right the core of me and took my breath away. A great composition by Jerry and a perfect way to end the album. The downside of this album is that most songs are usually just Layne or just Jerry and doesn't have the element of the 2 voices going together which really makes AIC what it is. Ultimately i like it and i'm interested to see how they pick up where they left off for their new album. I wish good luck to DuVall and hope that this new album really lives up to what AIC was back in the 90's. AIC forever and God bless Layne.

Their absolute best.

I ususally don't like to write short reviews, but I really don't have much else to say. Every song is beautiful in it's own right. I couldn't even pick a favorite. This is simply an amzing album with which you'll be hard pressed to find one of comparable quality.

There is NOTHING bad to say about this album...

Alice in Chains is one of the reasons I fell into a deep love affair with grunge at a very young age; they remain one of my favorite bands to this day. Every song grabs hold of you and rips you until there's nothing left. Real, raw, and in your face..AIC captured the very seeds of aggression and frustration that so many people can relate too. Layne is deeply missed, AIC forever! Grind- 10/10 Brush Away-10/10 Sludge Factory- 10/10 Heaven Beside You- The first AIC song I ever heard, still love it. 10/10 Head Creeps- LOVE 10/10 Again-9/10 Shame In You-10/10 so subtle and dark at the same time, you don't have to be heavy all the time to be hardcore. This song is a terrific example of that. God Am- 10/10 So Close-9/10 Nothin' Song-10/10 such a great little song..."The nothin' song clings to your mouth like peanut butter on the grain.." haha Frogs-8/10...the only song on the album I never really got into Over Now- 10/10 my parents danced to this song at their wedding, such a flawless song.


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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