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Making Mellow Work - 86%

DawnoftheShred, December 16th, 2006

Alice in Chains decide to integrate more acoustic lines, mellower atmosphere, and a generally 'softer' sound into their brand of grungy metal. And as a fan of their mellower songs anyway, I say "Why the hell not?"

This is a band that progresses on every release, from a musician's standpoint and a songwriter's. All the instrumental work is better and Staley's voice is just as memorable as it ever was. The most notable aspect of this album is killer use of atmosphere. Though this is not a heavy album when you look at the ingredients, it sounds heavy because of the way they're mixed. The lyrics are just as dark and moody as ever, but the music occasionally serves as a sort of positive counterpoint that gives the album a unique sound (though they always had moments like that, sort of). And then there's stuff like "Swing on This," almost jazzy in essence, to throw off any stereotypes of the band's nature. Oh, and did I mention Cantrell's lead guitar gets better on every album?

This EP is essential for the AIC fan, and since the rerelease comes with their other EP, there's no viable reason not to own this. Some of the songs aren't up to par with the classics "No Excuses" and "I Stay Away," but that's to be expected on an Alice in Chains album.