ALICE IN CHAINS — Alice In Chains

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ALICE IN CHAINS - Alice In Chains cover
3.85 | 39 ratings | 2 reviews
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Album · 1995

Tracklist

1. Grind (4:45)
2. Brush Away (3:22)
3. Sludge Factory (7:12)
4. Heaven Beside You (5:27)
5. Head Creeps (6:28)
6. Again (4:05)
7. Shame In You (5:35)
8. God Am (4:07)
9. So Close (2:45)
10. Nothin' Song (5:40)
11. Frogs (8:18)
12. Over Now (7:03)

Total Time 64:52

Line-up/Musicians

- Layne Staley / vocals, rhythm guitar
- Jerry Cantrell / lead guitar, vocals
- Mike Inez / bass
- Sean Kinney / drums

About this release

November 7, 1995
Columbia

Japanese Edition has the following bonus tracks:

13. Again (Tattoo of Pain Mix) (4:01)
14. Again (Jungle Mix) (4:01)

Thanks to Pekka, progshine, Lynx33, Unitron for the updates

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Unitron
Alice in Chains' self titled album, their last album to feature frontman Layne Staley, is one that is often forgotten or pushed aside in their discography. It is probably overshadowed by Dirt, which is often seen as the band's magnum opus and a crown jewel of the grunge genre, as well as the band's 2009 comeback album Black Gives Way to Blue, which is often seen as their best album after Dirt if not their best (Which I personally don't understand, I find that album pretty boring and bland, but that's a review for another day).

Alice in Chains is an album where you can just hear all the band tensions and what was going on at the time. While Jerry Cantrell has expressed his joy with the finished product, it sounds like Staley's heroin addiction made it a pain to get the record done. The band has never been known for uplifting music, but this album might very well be their most outright depressing and dreary album.

The underlying doom metal influence that's always been with the band perhaps shows up the most on this album. However, it is blended with some bittersweet melodies, harmonies, and a creative use of the band's acoustic side shown on their EP's. The band finally brings their two sounds together on this album, and it works beautifully. Great examples of this are on the longer songs on the album, such as "Sludge Factory", "Heaven Beside You", and "Frogs". You get this mesh of sludgy riffing dripping with misery and twangy acoustic blues guitar that actually enhances the overall mood. "Sludge Factory" I believe uses this sound best and is probably my favorite on the album.

Cantrell's comment in an interview of "Our music's kind of about taking something ugly and making it beautiful", really paints a good picture of this album's sound. This is partly due to the harmonies the Cantrell and Staley always make even in a really heavy or somber song. I once again refer to the longer songs on the album, especially "Heaven Beside You", whose bittersweet chorus is always followed up by this heavy doom metal riff. There's also some great screeching soloing on this record, like with "Sludge Factory" as well as "Brush Away". "Nothin' Song" also features this combined with some excellent syncopation. For one of the more doom-sounding songs, they sure made it pretty catchy. I think they knew that with the inclusion of lyrics such as "Well the nothin' song sticks to your mouth, like peanut butter on the brain".

This album is a perfect example of a grower. While Facelift has the instant appeal of it's infectiously catchy hooks and riffs, and Dirt has classic status, it takes a few listens for this one to fully sink in. Not to say there aren't some instant hooks on this album though, as I've always loved the classic opener of "Grind" and "Head Creeps" which immediately get you headbanging to the teeth-gritting riffs. If you've only heard this album once or twice and not thinking much of it, I recommend giving it another listen. It's a real underrated gem that deserves the same appreciation as the band's other albums.

https://thewickednest.blogspot.com/2018/02/alice-in-chains-alice-in-chains-review.html
Pekka
The time between releasing Jar of Flies and starting work on Alice In Chains' self-titled album was marked by cancelled tour dates and band hiatus caused by Layne Staley's rehab stint and a side project called Mad Season. When they finally managed to get together in a studio and get something done, the end product was released in a package adorned with an image of a three legged dog on the front and a three legged man on the back. Certain interpretations of the band's situation can be made, especially since they didn't tour in support of the album.

With the cover art and sound bleak in the extreme, this really doesn't sound like an album made by happy people. A distinct change in the band dynamics can be heard with Jerry Cantrell spending a lot more time on the mic - two of the three singles released from the album featured Cantrell on lead vocals - with Staley often appearing just to provide a harmony. Or in the case of the opener Grind a disturbing distorted mess to give the already heavy song some great twisted edge. The track lenghts are also often a lot longer than before, which isn't a result of crafting multi-part prog epics, but rather ending songs with long druggy ramblings, outro jams if you will. It's a matter of the moment and mood if they're an improvement on the song or not. Other notable changes are the somewhat downturned distortion knob and more layered guitar tracks, but in the end the sound is still very noticeable AIC, most of all of course when Layne Staley opens his multitracked mouth on top of Jerry Cantrell's riffs.

This album features many great tracks like Grind, Heaven Beside You, Head Creeps, God Am and Over Now, but also a couple of more fillerish ones, mostly Shame in You and Nothin' Song that do a bit of harm for the impact of the album. I used to be a bit let down by the fact that there are brilliant renditions of half the songs of this album on their live albums and thought that these versions are inferior to them, but recently I've found greater appreciation for the originals. A very dark and disturbing album which sadly turned out to be their last studio work featuring Layne Staley. Very recommendable.

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