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Radio in Chains - 81%

Doominance, May 1st, 2016

If Alice in Chains released 'Dirt' in hopes to achieve some commercial success, then they used the correct formula for it, because that's exactly what happened. There's really no wonder why this album is often considered Alice in Chains' finest work, since it's got some of the sharpest hooks and simplest "sing-and-play-along-to" music in rock.

The band's two biggest hits are present on 'Dirt' - "Rooster" and "Would?" - these two are most definitely the most overplayed and overrated Alice in Chains songs ever, but are built in the way that makes 'Dirt' such a popular album. The music is very simple; there's nothing overly-complex and mind-blowing with the riffs or song-structure; it's very straight-forward and uses the ancient verse-chorus-verse formula,, but the choruses to these songs are memorable enough to leave prints on people's minds, even if they don't know the band or listen to this type of music, in general. The very same can be said about a few other songs on 'Dirt'; most notably "Them Bones", "Rain When I Die" and "Junkhead".

This album also contains some very dark and personal songs, with "Angry Chair" being the stand-out one. It's dark as hell, yet has a strangely uplifting chorus that once again works as a great hook, which is light and catchy enough for radio-play. Another Alice in Chains classic would be "Down in a Hole" - a dark, melancholic rock-ballad with exceptional vocal harmonies and calm, melodic instrumentation, and then of course, the memorable chorus.

The songs mentioned above are the ones that are made to leave an impression on the listener - thanks to their strong choruses, they're very accessible and enjoyable by just about anyone, and make up the bulk of this album's strength.

There are, however, some rather underwhelming tracks, too. "Sickman" is a bit all-over-the-place and sounds like a left-over song by Acid Bath that wasn't used for any of their two albums. The same can be said about "God Smack"; though, this one is much more enjoyable than "Sickman", and Layne Staley sounds almost identical to Dax Riggs of Acid Bath here. These two, along with the title-track and "Hate to Feel" leave are significantly weaker than the other songs mentioned. They are the opposite of what makes the other songs good and memorable, and while it's often "more metal" to have songs that aren't golden for radio and other ways of commercial success, these ones just sound somewhat forced and are, at best, filler material.

'Dirt' is a good album, but a tad inconsistent; even if the majority of the music here, is very enjoyable. Despite the few songs that are a bit iffy, Alice in Chains proved that their song-writing was good enough to create radio-worthy rock hits without becoming a desperate cash-hungry band (Metallica, coughcough).