Mad Season
Above


4.5
superb

Review

by Marko Polovina USER (90 Reviews)
June 16th, 2008 | 113 replies | 36,496 views


Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A haunting, shocking, and unbelievably surprising album that is takes you on a mellow trip.

Producer: Mark Langern

Members:
Vocals: Layne Staley
Guitar: Mike McCready
Bass: John Baker
Drums: Barret Martin

This one time project was rumored to have sequels, but was finished after Staley was found dead in 2002 and Baker died in 1998 of the same cause (drug overdose). A quiet album that never got big, but was very much worthy of listening to because of it's deep lyrics and guitar harmonies are perfectly blended. Probably the weirdest most shocking side project created as 'grunge and blues influenced album' . Mad Season consisted the best of Seattle. Layne Staley from Alice In Chains, Mike McCready from Pearl Jam, John Baker (numerous blues bands), and Barret Martin from Screaming Trees. Certainly everyone thought that such a project would be great hard rocking riffs with harrowing harsh vocals by Staley. But the album goes in a complete 180 degree turn to a jazz-bluesy influenced music style with mostly acoustic ballads. If you want something jazzy, bluesy, and mellow this is the album for you.

The album starts off with a a minute of guitar chords and drumming which are very light and low. Then Staley starts singing completely different from his usual vocal power. Instead of using his harsh voice he uses a soothing-soft guided vocals throughout 'Wake Up'. The 2nd track 'X-Ray Mind' is my favorite because of the quick intensity buildup between the drumming and guitar. McCready's guitar is really enjoyable and goes well with the song. Staley's voice is a little bit harsher but nothing close to his previous work. After a few verses your directly driven into McCready/Baker/Martin jamming. Then as quickly as your into it your out and Staley's voice once again comes in. A great track and is one of the best on the album. The 3rd track ' River Of Deciet' is the only single from the album and starts off like 'Wake Up' but has a guitar that flows with Staley's voice very well. Staley's voice really shines on this track and his lyrical talent is shown as he proves he isn't just the vocalist of the Alice In Chains but has songwriting skills as well. Memorable verse is of course:

"My pain is self-chosen
At least, so the perfect says
I could either burn or cut off my pride and buy some time
Head full of lies is a wieght - tied to my waist"

The third track; I'm Above' seems like you will finally have a grunge track feel to it (only guitar), but soon slows down and gets softer. On this track McCready and Staley sing in harmony. Throughout the track they both sing the same verses and the drumming by Martin is perfect when the music speeds up in certain areas of the track. Next, is 'Artifical Red' which was created during a Seattle club performance in minutes by Staley. The song really is a jam song, but later found it's way on the album. All members of the band take credit for this track and Staley's voice is great on parts of the song. The 6th track 'Lifeless Dead' unquestionably the most metal song on the album is driven in with McCready's great guitar and Staley's same-tempoed voice, but someone keeps interested in the song. Especially McCready's luring guitar keeps you into the song. Staley's loudest performance on the album, which isn't a loud one at all.

The next track 'I Don't Know Anything' sounds like an Alice In Chain's influenced song (lyrically), but shows the repetitiveness isn't always bad. The next track 'Long Gone Day' is very much influenced by Baker's past. The saxophone and jazzy feeling goes very well with the lyrics written by Staley. Probably thee best track on the album. The next track 'November Hotel' is very much like a lullaby and is really easy to listen to if your in a happy mood. At 7:08 the track can be boring, but it really depends on how your feeling.
The last of 10 tracks is called ' All Alone'. Comes in with really soft sounding guitar and low drumming by Martin. And in a minute Staley's voice shatters the quiet silence with "I" this track is like 'November Hotel', but more involved with the vocals; instrumentally it is a really similar approach.

This album has to be my top 10 favorites at the time I first listened to it and the biggest shocker I have received from a band or side-project. Although it doesn't quite reach that high now on my list (it's been over 4 years) the Seattle project was amazing. Staley's voice goes great with McCready's backing vocals/guitar and Baker's bass. Martin barely hits the drums in some songs, but just enough to hear them "chiingg".

Overview -

Best Tracks:
'Wake Up'
'X-Ray Mind'
'River Of Deciet'
'Lifeless Dead'
'I Don't Know Anything'
'Long Gone Day'

Low Points:
Not many, but - 'November Hotel' and 'Artificial Red' can get dull at times.



Recent reviews by this author
Mission of Burma UnsoundClark Iradelphic
Doomtree No KingsJane's Addiction The Great Escape Artist
Gang of Four ContentNine Inch Nails Pretty Hate Machine: 2010 Remaster
user ratings (342)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
SitarHero (4.5)
A spacious, mellow and loosely grooving affair that is just short of being a true classic....

Josh Bowers (4)
A wonderfully produced album only to be overshadowed by Temple of the Dog, and denied the right to b...

rockfan (4.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
MassiveAttack
June 16th 2008


2688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

My first review I wrote for another forum back when I was a Junior in high school...it's been 3 years so my writing abilities probably have improved or so I hope

Smileyface
June 28th 2008


309 Comments


Shame this didn't get any comments, this is a really good review.

MassiveAttack
July 12th 2008


2688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

wow really...thank you very much

Spamue1G
July 23rd 2008


1292 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review, you've persuaded me to check this out

MassiveAttack
July 24th 2008


2688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

tell me what you think about it

RoshanC
November 11th 2009


219 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review of a great album. sorry to nitpick, but its Mark Lanegan who sings with Stayley on I'm Above, not McCready. He also sings half the verses on Long Gone Day. They talked about keeping the band going with him singing when Stayley got completely fucked up but before Baker Saunders died.

Hro
November 9th 2010


35 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"wake up" almost made this a 4,5- Fantastic song!

jamiecoughlan
January 19th 2011


87 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Don't wanna be a jerk but it's prophet not perfect. Otherwise really enjoyable review. Good job!

Romulus
January 19th 2011


8434 Comments


river of deceit is so good

MassiveAttack
January 19th 2011


2688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

lol odd, this is getting bumped, my first review : )

PayneTiger777
April 13th 2011


4390 Comments


Wow, I really need to buy this album. Layne Staley was an amazing vocalist.

Maniac!
April 13th 2011


26250 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good review, amazing album, one nitpick

"This one time project was rumored to have sequels, but was finished after Staley was found dead in 2002 and Baker died in 1998 of the same cause (drug overdose)"


It would sound better if the later death was mentioned after the earlier one. Meaning, Baker THEN Staley. It just reads better.

Maniac!
April 13th 2011


26250 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

just realized how old this review is.


oops

Romulus
April 13th 2011


8434 Comments


my paiiiiinnnnn

Maniac!
April 13th 2011


26250 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

is self chooosennnn

MassiveAttack
April 13th 2011


2688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i is old.

KILL
April 16th 2011


71743 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

mark lanegan on long gone day is so perfect omg

Digging: Invisible - El jardin de los presentes

BigHans
May 16th 2011


26454 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

MY PAIN

IS SELF CHOSENNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN

Maniac!
May 16th 2011


26250 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

123

WatchItExplode
May 16th 2011


3240 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I really hated this...was so pissed I actually bought it



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy