Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Pinnacle of Alice in Chains - 100%

enshrinedtemple, June 30th, 2016
Written based on this version: 1992, CD, Columbia Records

Alice in Chains are certainly a heavy metal band. Perhaps they are better known for being a grunge act, but they are heavier than Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Mudhoney. Alice plays their own blend of alternative metal but it just so happens that they were from Seattle where the grunge scene exploded. The bands plays this alternative style because one song they are practically doom metal and the next song has a radio friendly chorus. Just contrasting and comparing the songs Rooster to Junkhead shows you the different moods that Alice can conjure up.

Dirt is the legendary album that Alice will be known for. It is certainly their flagship album with the band at their peak performance. Both heavy and light, Dirt encapsulates Alice perfectly. Dirt shows the band hitting their stride. Facelift was very well done but inconsistent while the tripod album is a very depressing affair. Dirt is an album that stands head and shoulders above Alice's discography and the entire grunge rock scene of the 90s. It's unique, it's brooding, it's scary and it is drug fueled. It's a rewarding and sometimes depressing journey that has a lot to offer a first time listener. Dirt is an album full of radio rock singles, but they do not become stale or overplayed in the context of the album. It's one of those albums that has so much to offer, that repeat listens are warranted and revisiting the album remains appealing.

The musicianship is insane on this album. Mike Starr's last major bass effort is a monster one. Sean Kinney is solid and reliable. Cantrell channels Tony Iommi and the radio rock of the 90s but in his own unique harmonizing way. Mr. Layne Staley is at his vocal peak on Dirt. The way he can harmonize with Cantrell proves the chemistry between the two. He has such a range and he perfects the signature Alice sound with his mournful wails and drug induced cries. If you thought Man in the Box was a great song, just wait until Dirt has been played in its entirety. The entire album is chock full of Man in the Box quality songs. There's no doubt that Dirt is a 90s masterpiece and the songs of a generation.

Dirt features many excellent songs. Songs like Would and Rooster classic radio staples. Junkhead and Dirt are so heavy while being full of doom. Down in a Hole shows the bands softer side and hearkens back to their Sap EP despite being electric. Many other songs are just so bizarre because of a vocal delivery method or a really crazy harmony from Layne. Each song pack a unique punch to put it plainly. Every song should there and is present for good reason. The band is firing on all cylinders.

This album is not for the faint of heart. It is for the sick minded and the castaways. It's definitely not an album for everyone. Some cannot handle Layne's singing or have tired of hearing the singles on the radio. Some can't handle the darkness of what drugs can do to and the terror they are associated with. I wouldn't judge you if Dirt is not something you are passionate about. For me it will always be life changing and something worth passing down to future generations. Alice carved their way into my soul and Dirt should be celebrated as the essential AIC album.