without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
This is one of those reviews where I'm sat here thinking; "where do I start?"
I grew up listening to Alice in Chains, and I remember getting this for Christmas one year. I think I was around 12, and was bang into Dirt at the time. I never expected this, back then I judged a book by its cover, and from the image I was expecting a really dark, heavy and oppressive release, which was exactly what I got, just not in the way I expected.
With a large use of acoustic guitars, bass, Jar of Flies was an almost acoustic album, save for some effected electric guitars and clean channel. At the time, I feel I was maybe a little too young to fully appreciate the depth and scope of the material on offer here, yet I persisted with the album. I often find it funny how things change, and I've changed. Once upon a time I would have gladly shelved this in favor of Facelift, but now when I fancy a bit of Alice in Chains it's almost always Jar of Flies.
Today I'm sat here, admittedly a little emotional as is often the case when I listen to this album. Something about the harrowing, bleak, almost suffocating emotional energy blended with strangely uplifting, and warming music is astonishing. Sinking its hooks into me over the years, the beauty of Jar of Flies is that even though I think I know the album like the back of my hand, I always find something new to love.
From Layne Staley's haunting vocal delivery and poignant lyrics, to Jerry Cantrell's brilliantly restrained guitar work the performances here are sheer magic. Not to forget Sean Kinney's quality percussion back-beat and of course Mike Inez's wonderful bass and acoustic bass work. The production is perfect, and really gives the music a lot of room to breathe, filling the room. I'd certainly recommend turning this one up loud.
As I started off, I was expecting a dark and heavy experience, which back when I was younger essentially mean I wanted Dirt part II. Obviously this isn't heavy in the sense of guitar riffs, distortion, much like The Devin Townsend Projects Ki this is heavy in the sense of its atmosphere, and how it weighs down on you. Particularly "Rotten Apple" and "Nutshell", which are worth the price of admission alone. The former fitting the dark and heavy description given above/earlier perfectly, the second being an emotional piece of music that will always be a personal favorite.
I've went on quite a bit, and veered off into personal territory from time to time, but this release has always been a personal experience for myself and always will be. However I can assure you that the score I'm awarding Jar of Flies doesn't reflect bias (otherwise I would have bashed out 100%). This release works best as a way to break up a listening session, or a good release to wind down after a hard day. Although I will also say that I wouldn't recommend this in times of grief/despair. A wonderful listening experience, highly recommend.