Alice in Chains
Jar of Flies


4.5
superb

Review

by Carlos Von Sextron USER (11 Reviews)
May 9th, 2010 | 21 replies | 2,740 views


Release Date: 1994 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Although there isn't much new here, Jar of Flies may be the best way to prove that the grunge-metal hybrid that Alice in Chains have created is one of the best hybrids ever made.

3 of 3 thought this review was well written

Alice in Chains. A Grunge band from Seattle that took grunge and laced it with metal to create some of the best music of the 90s. Often referred to as "the band with the upper hand" in the 90s, due to the unique vocal style of Layne Staley, with back-up vocals from guitarist Jerry Cantrell. This EP easily shows everything Alice can pull off and more, with dark hard rockers, upbeat catchy tunes, heart-felt ballads, and even an instrumental. All accomplished in 7 songs.

The first track, "Rotten Apple", has beautiful instrumentation and Layne's yearning voice. A rather long song, clocking in at 7 minutes, does not drag on one bit. It keeps you listening to the perfect blend of soft drums, a talkbox, and Staley and Cantrell's signature and easily recognizable vocals. The most impressive part of this song may be the guitar solo. I found it to branch away from the otherwise grunge-influenced song and into a bluesy, John Frusciante-esque solo. "Nutshell" is a ballad, probably one of the best grunge band ballads of the 90s. The reason is because you feel what Layne is feeling: sorrow. This reaction comes from the mold of the electric guitar seemingly responding to the soulful acoustic guitar, matching Layne's vocals. The only complaint I can think of is that it could have been longer and I would not have minded.

"I Stay Away" was the biggest hit from Jar of Flies, still played on alt. radio stations from time to time. The first dark hard rocker, has Layne at his best, howling "I Stay Away", with strings following. I don't really think the strings fit at all, the song would have sounded better without. The highlight of this song has got to be the pre-chorus, with a distorted guitar matching the melody of Layne's voice. Next up is "No Excuses", starting off with Sean Kinney (drummer) arguably at his best, because he goes all around the set in the most creative way possible. Definitely shows Cantrell at his best. Again, the guitar solo complements the song greatly. A light sing-along track that takes a few listens to get into. "Whale & Wasp" is an instrumental track that sounds more like something Boston would make. It comes off as repetitive, but hey, it's just an instrumental.

"Don't Follow" is sung by Cantrell, and shows what he can do. I like the use of harmonica in the song, giving it country components, with great use of acoustic guitar and subtle drums. "Swing On This" is a rather unique mix of 60s vocal style and drums, with tasty distorted guitar riffs. Probably the catchiest song on the album. Upbeat in it's own way, you can tell they spent time on this one.

The overall feel I get from this album is a lighter side of Alice in Chains you won't find on any of their other releases. They also show just how diverse they can be, that they can write awesome hard, dark, distorted songs and heart-felt ballads. Jar of Flies shows how talented Jerry Cantrell is, and what a great duo he and Layne are. I recommend all of the tracks, but if you pick up the album be sure to go in order.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
PearlDrummer20
May 9th 2010



1089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just got this yesterday (see my list) and these are my first impressions. I know, it's kind of a track
by track, but I think it's the best way to approach an album with 7 songs on it.

Romulus
May 9th 2010



8411 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This is my favorite AiC release, really really good stuff.

"I Stay Away" was the biggest hit from Jar of Flies


No Excuses is actually their biggest hit to date

PearlDrummer20
May 9th 2010



1089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

really? huh. I didn't know that.

Wait... wasn't "Check My Brain" their only No.1 hit?

Greggers
May 9th 2010



2375 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I actually just listened to this; an utterly amazing EP, definitely one of my favourites.

As for the review, you described the music well but it's essentially a glorified track-by-track. I would've preferred an overall impression of the album, talking about: the dark overwhelming atmosphere, the context behind the depressing nature, the contrast to their heavier albums etc...

Still, it's not bad, it just could've gone more in-depth.

PearlDrummer20
May 9th 2010



1089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah, I tried to do that in the last paragraph.

Romulus
May 9th 2010



8411 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

On one of the rock charts I think, but No Excuses got pop airplay and such too

PearlDrummer20
May 9th 2010



1089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

That's weird... because I think most of the other songs on Jar of Flies are better then No Excuses...

Romulus
May 9th 2010



8411 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Agreed but it's still great. Replace Rotten Apple with Nutshell and the tracklist is my order but you really can't got wrong with the first six songs on here.

EVedder27
May 9th 2010



6088 Comments


But that has nothing to do with how popular the songs are

@Pearldrummer

PearlDrummer20
May 9th 2010



1089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

...well it should

and plus it's weird because i haven't heard No Excuses until I got this album.

Greggers
May 9th 2010



2375 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

No Excuses was on Guitar Hero World Tour, that pretty much says how popular it is/was.

PearlDrummer20
May 9th 2010



1089 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah, kids will eat up anything that is given to them.

HenchmanOfSanta
May 9th 2010



1852 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It was on Guitar Hero Metallica, not World Tour.

coneren
May 9th 2010



11111 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Don't Follow is under-rated!!This EP is awesome

Skimaskcheck
May 10th 2010



2360 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Such a good EP, must've listened to Nutshell and Rotten Apple a trillion times

Greggers
May 10th 2010



2375 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

It was on Guitar Hero Metallica, not World Tour.


Yeah I knew it was one of the two

BigHans
May 10th 2010



26455 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Brilliant album.

Nutshell > Life.

Counterfeit
May 10th 2010



17819 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

^ 123

2nd favorite AiC release. Right after Dirt. Actually 3rd after Unplugged.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
May 10th 2010



15332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this was the first alice in chains album i heard, still love it. nice review.

Digging: Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus

Nagrarok
May 10th 2010



8169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

EP is awesome, I actually prefer this to their studio albums because it's more consistent and just has this amazing dark, beautiful atmosphere.

Nutshell > Life.


And this, of course.



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