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Alice in Chains-Dirt - 100%

Chratheostic17, May 9th, 2015

Alice in Chains, possibly along with few over bands of their time such as Soundgarden were famously regarded for their, almost fusion of the two styles of Seattle-spawned grunge (of which Alice in Chains always found themselves at the forefront of, both commercially and musically) and just straight-up heavy metal.

At this point in the game it's rather unfair to just tie Alice in Chains in with all the infamous grunge bands that had become somewhat of a scapegoat for more or less eradicating metal from the mainstream, as particularly in this release there are so many metal elements to be found that can be traced back to the "Sabbathy" kind of vibe in songs like Dam That River, and the long, emphasised vocals of Layne Staley in songs like Rooster that on many occasions in this album. Rain When I Die, regardless of the massive instrumental shift is more of a doom-infested re-enactment of "Man in the Box". He confirmed in this that his vocal range hadn't remotely deteriorated.

There was only a two year gap in the time between the previous full-length, "Facelift" and 1992's follow up, "Dirt", but despite all the touring, and undoubtedly drugs and alcohol intake that would have undoubtedly been a necessity of the tour in supporting their debut just judging by the lyrics alone in this album, if anything Staley's vocals had evolved more. There were times when his vocals sounded deliberately fragile and inconsistent to contribute to the "doomy" kind of vibe the instrumentals shifted to, contrary to the melodic tendencies of their previous release. This was evident in songs like "Sickman", home to multiple outbreaks of Staley screeching, only to almost immediately convert to simply mumbling alongside a slow, chilling tempo.

If you're a fan of the grunge, or even nineties metal scene, then chances are you'll inevitably fall in love with the depressing but nonetheless beautiful melodies of the 90's radio dynamite, "Them Bones". However, be warned. As classic an album this may be, itt was a rather misleading single as it by no means speaks for the signature sound of the album, it is simply so varied with atmospheric and progressive elements that probably outnumber the haunting melodies of the radio songs like "Would?" and "Them Bones". At times, (once again, most notably Sickman) it sounds like a totally different band, at least instrumentally. Layne's vocals have always been identifiable, for all the right reasons, even for the deaf.

Favourite tracks: Them Bones, Dam That River, Rain When I Die, Rooster, Would?