ALICE IN CHAINS — Facelift (review)

ALICE IN CHAINS — Facelift album cover Album · 1990 · Alternative Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
ALICE IN CHAINS ushered in the 1990s with this little gem of a debut album FACELIFT. Although it is kind of a transitional album morphing from a glam metal act called Alice 'N Chains, this album hit the road as full fledged alternative metal that was the very first grunge album to be certified platinum. I'm not sure why Nirvana gets so much credit as innovators in this type of sound since it was ALICE IN CHAINS who IMHO blew them away by consistently delivering a superior product. Not only did this band change the course of alternative metallic music by bringing back a blues oriented sound but they also bucked the trend of increasingly faster tempos that were developing in most forms of metal and slowing and tuning down more synonymous with the doom metal bands of the day.

FACELIFT was not an instant success until MTV began to play “Man In The Box” and then all hell broke loose and they rest is history. Two other singles “We Die Young” from the demo and “Sea Of Sorrow” helped propel this album into rock n roll history. For many years those singles were the ones I loved the most and in a way they still ring as the best tracks on the album, but after paying more attention to the rest of the album it is clear that this band found a unique niche in the musical world. Not really considered metal per se at the time, they have since then become recognized as such existing in that grey area between hard rock, blues rock and alternative metal. Nomenclature matters not to me. This is a band that is clearly subordinate to Layne Staley's vocals and musical vision.

This album constitutes a great bit of what ALICE IN CHAINS would further in their career but they do have a few red herrings from the past lingering on this one. The track “I Know Somethin' ('Bout You) “ is a bit of funky metal that reminds me more of what Extreme would be famous for. “Put You Down” sounds a bit too much like glam metal riffage that they were evolving out of. Many of these tracks seem like prototypes for the much better songwriting that would take full flight on the next release “Sap.” Overall this might have been a better album if it was trimmed down a little but not a bad debut. This strong album is dwarfed a bit by the stronger releases that followed and I have to admit that I focused less on this one and more than the others but after closer attention being paid I have to admit that this is a very good album in its own right. The best place for any potential ALICE IN CHAINS fan is to start right here on this first release.
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adg211288 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I don't put this one on to much these days but when I'm in an AiC mood tracks like We Die Young, Man in the Box and In Ain't Like That always get a revisit.
more than 2 years ago
This is my favourite of theirs for sure. There's a bit of filler, but its a cracking album. I think a mixture of the best songs between this and Dirt would've been a flawless amazing world-beater of a record.
UMUR wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Killer album this one, even though I agree they would release even better Things only a few years Down the line.
Unitron wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Nice review, I completely agree that Alice In Chains were much more innovative then Nirvana ever was. I find all of AiC's albums really good.

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