ALICE IN CHAINS — Dirt (review)

ALICE IN CHAINS — Dirt album cover Album · 1992 · Alternative Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Pekka
Going down the steps on a white line straight to nowhere. Those words were repeated over and over in Real Thing, the closer of Facelift, and AIC's second album documents the repercussions. This is one of the heaviest albums I've heard, not necessarily because of the music but the subject matter which is mostly mortality and addiction.

But this is not just a lyrics album. The opener Them Bones comes in with a crushing 7/8 riff and a torching Layne Staley roar, Sickman has one of the most disturbing verse riffs I can think of, Rain When I Die has a great atmospheric build-up, great riffs in this song, great riffs in that song... not to mention such classics as Rooster, Down in a Hole and Would? with its iconic bass riff. And all of the album is crowned by the gloriously haunting vocal harmonies by Staley and Jerry Cantrell.

Almost all of the debut album Facelift was composed by Jerry Cantrell with Layne Staley contributing much of the lyrics, but on this album the composer in Staley really steps up. He's the driving force behind the five song drug saga from Junkhead to Angry Chair (including Cantrell's hidden interlude Iron Gland, featuring the howling of Slayer's Tom Araya), with the addiction escalating from Junkhead's "we are an elite race of our own, the stoners junkies and freaks" to Angry Chair's "saw my reflection and cried, so little hope that I died". Hugely powerful and tragic stuff, delivered with the authority of a genuine dope fiend.

A defining grunge and 90s heavy metal album, essential to say the least.
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