Alice in Chains
Dirt


4.5
superb

Review

by Meatplow USER (111 Reviews)
June 10th, 2009 | 22 replies | 3,670 views


Release Date: 1992 | Tracklist


2 of 2 thought this review was well written

Alice In Chains were one of the bigger names in the early 90's Seattle grunge scene alongside such contemporaries as Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden, the group differentiating themselves from their peers by way of having origins in the glam metal scene. They later evolved into an alternative hard rock group with a dark, metal edge influenced by the brooding, introspective movement of post-punk, the legacy left by the group by the drug overdose of lead singer Layne Staley firmly cementing the small output of the band into legendary status.

The bands most popular release Dirt is often described with such terms as "depressing", "angst-ridden", and "the poetry of suicide, man". Whilst this might be overdoing it a little the album is very much on these terms, opening track Them Bones hits you in the face from the beginning with it's aggressive, distorted rhythms (thankyou Jerry Cantrell), impressive guitar leads and Staley's despondent lyrics (I feel so alone, gonna end up a big ol' pile of them bones). His delivery is something akin to Axl Rose meets Kurt Cobain, and is consistently fitting throughout the album. Dam That River is perhaps the best track ever to follow an opener of this caliber, from the cracking snare drum at the intro to it's thick, sludgy mid paced riffs and harmonised verse melodies it undeniably rocks like a mother***er. Singing along is mandatory.

Rain When I Die is the perhaps the most impressive moment on the album, opening with an apocalyptic bass riff and swirling guitar feedback it could very well be the most introspective, explosive track on Dirt with it's waa infected riff and monster of a chorus. Staley's lyrics and vocal delivery during the verse are full of inexpressible sorrow (Is she ready to know my frustration? What she slippin inside, slow castration/Im a riddle so strong, you cant break me/Did she come here to try, try to take me?) as are those on later tracks such as Dirt (I have never felt such frustration/Or lack of self control/I want you to kill me/And dig me under, I wanna live no more). His longtime addiction to heroin impacted him heavily, the rolling percussion and infected power chord swagger of Sickman capturing this sense of junky frustration in the most poignant way (I can feel the wheel, but I cant steer/When my thoughts become my biggest fear/Ah, whats the difference, Ill die in this sick world of mine). Other tracks such as Junkhead follow similar lines, and you get the sense that Staley wasn't a happy man for most of his life.

Only two tracks here (partially) deal with clean guitars, the incredible Rooster which was written by Jerry Cantrell about his father who served in the Vietnam war, and Down In A Hole both of which use these purely as a way to build up to exceptionally powerful choruses. Angry Chair, Would? and Hate To Feel are the three remaining highlights on the album, very much in the vein of all the other stuff here which are AIC classics in their own right.

Dirt is an essential album of early 90's alternative rock, and nobody who claims to enjoy that era could possibly get away with having never heard it before. It is up there with any of the other releases pumped out by the other grunge acts back in the day and if you haven't already (which seems unlikely), get it in.



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user ratings (2946)
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4.4
superb
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Meatplow
June 10th 2009



5524 Comments


In the process of editing it, please bear with the mistakes.

Willie
Moderator
June 10th 2009



15877 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

One of the few alternative rock albums from that time period that I actually like.

Digging: Emperor - In The Nightside Eclipse - 20th Year Anniversary

Meatplow
June 10th 2009



5524 Comments


Yeah. In regard to AIC i've only listened to this album and a handful of songs, the unplugged album as well come to think of it.

Soundgarden will always be my favourite Grunge act.

shindip
June 10th 2009



3536 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Loooove this album. Possibly favourite grunge album. In the review, you dont explain why this is a 4.5 and not a 5, which confuses me

handoman
June 10th 2009



2386 Comments


idk im really not into this stuff... i should give this another listen though

MassiveAttack
June 10th 2009



2688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I remember my very emergence from mainstream rock towards heavier stuff. This was one of those albums that got me into grunge. First album was Pearl Jam's 'Ten'. Both are just utterly amazing. Although I love 'Ten' more because of 'Dirt's' filler, they're both just fantastic.

MassiveAttack
June 10th 2009



2688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Oh and thanks for more grunge Meatplow, as I requested.

Meatplow
June 10th 2009



5524 Comments


Ten is incredible, agreed. No problem, this has been reviewed to death but i recently dug it out and enjoyed it as much as ever so why not.

Loooove this album. Possibly favourite grunge album. In the review, you dont explain why this is a 4.5 and not a 5, which confuses me


I probably should have, in hindsight. Most of the tracks here are classics, but there are a few minute details which irk me a little. Usually, thats just rock music in general however.

shindip
June 10th 2009



3536 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ok, I get ya. Ten is a tad better IMO, and Jar of Flies is also slightly superior. Otherwise, this just destroys.

Meatplow, could u reccomend me some grunge that isnt AIC, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, or Mother Love Bone?

MassiveAttack
June 10th 2009



2688 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I got Jar of Flies as a 5. I have no problem with it, it's just so downright amazing.

shin if you're interested in some grunge (some are similar):
Failure
Live
Mudhoney
Screaming Trees
Temple of the Dog (Grunge supergroup, before it got big)

jrowa001
June 11th 2009



8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

album is so good. i have this and Facelift. i need to get Jars of Flies

Tulannical
June 11th 2009



2051 Comments


Oh wow i haven't listened to this in a while. Great grunge album though, probably one of my favs from the genre.

Rugter32
June 11th 2009



754 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

this album is win in huge amounts

shindip
June 11th 2009



3536 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Tulannical's pic is win in huge amounts. ;)

Rugter32
June 11th 2009



754 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

that too, that too

ThusSpokeZarathustra
June 11th 2009



293 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

AIC, Soungarden, the Smashing Pumpkins and Pearl Jam all have albums I find enjoyable.
This one as well as the self-titled get a 3 from me while Facelift and Jar of Flies are 3.5’s.


Meatplow
June 11th 2009



5524 Comments


Meatplow, could u reccomend me some grunge that isnt AIC, Soundgarden, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, or Mother Love Bone?


What MassiveAttack suggested, esp. Mudhoney and Temple of The Dog (A grunge supergroup with most of the key players which is tribute to someone they knew who died), Green River is also worth checking out. You'll find the Seattle scene itself was pretty small so there is only really a few key bands and their spinoffs to get familiar with. Check out earlier stuff that was influential over it as well such as Pixies and Melvins (it looks weird not adding "the" on the front but it seems to be how they are supposed to be spelt).

You could also look into the Grunge knockoffs that sprung up elsewhere, the first two Stone Temple Pilots albums kicked quite a lot of ass (Purple & Core), early Silverchair has its moments (Isreal Son is a pretty fucking sweet track) and also riot grrl can be fun, L7, Babes In Toyland, Jack Off Jill etc. I would get L7's Bricks Are Heavy and Babes In Toylands Fontanelle at the very least.

AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
June 11th 2009



7314 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

good review, amazing album

lostforwords
June 11th 2009



443 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

If this isn't a classic album then what is?

KILL
June 11th 2009



70586 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

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