Screaming Trees
Uncle Anesthesia



by profoundword USER (15 Reviews)
August 30th, 2010 | 10 replies

Release Date: 1991 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Heavy, distorted, melodic rock, but not quite grunge

Uncle Anesthesia is an album by Seattle semi-grunge rockers Screaming Trees that displays a really interesting blend of influences and is a classic example of their unique sound. Released during the rise of grunge, this album differs slightly from the classic "Seattle sound".

On "Uncle Anesthesia", there is a large mash up of several distinctly different styles of music that make up the sound of the Screaming Trees. Their primary influence is heavy, melodic, distorted rock, and make no mistake; Screaming Trees are a rock band first and foremost, but they add more depth to their music with light Eastern and psyhedelic moods for passages of songs. Add to this the versatile, occasionally Vedder-esque baritone of Mark Lanegan and you have one hell of a unique sound. The songs on "Uncle Anesthesia" seem to stick loosely to a formula of a heavily distorted, yet somewhat ambient guitar melody that is accompanied by often very fast drumming and Lanegans very deep, clear vocals. There are frequent solos which compliment the other aspects of the songs very well, they enhance the melody and dont distract us entirely from it which gives the listener a balanced and consistent listen.

'Uncle Anesthesia" makes it apparent that melody is crucial to the Screaming Trees' sound. Whilst they are considered by many as a grunge band, and do occasionally sound like Pearl Jam or Soundgarden, they would rather maintain their heavy, atmospheric, moody melody than end a song in a wash of screaming and guitar feedback as Mudhoney and Nirvana would often do. The ambience created by the Eastern and psychedelic influences mentioned earlier also further distances them from grunge bands who were more often fuelled by rage and discontent, something the Screaming Trees never seemed to be. The introduction to "Caught Between" is a good example of the Eastern tinge applied to their heavy rock sound, as is the very fast but soft drumming that is scattered throughout the album. Mark Lanegans vocals compliment the bands musical direction very well, they are often delivered as a deep baritone but also become softer and edgier in different parts, dependent on the mood of the song. The album is lyrically sound but not amazing, the lyrics suit the vibe of the album but sometimes seem a bit too detached.

Overall, "Uncle Anesthesia" is a varied and interesting album with a variety of influences that blend together well. Occasionally the music seems like it is meandering too far and it sounds very detached in parts, but these moments are small and few. The Screaming Trees have crafted a very melodic, heavy and sometimes ambient record which stands alone for its unique sound. It should appeal to fans of bands like The Tea Party, Pearl Jam and even King Crimson fans might enjoy this.

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user ratings (69)

Comments:Add a Comment 
Staff Reviewer
August 30th 2010


Artwork for this is lol

August 30th 2010


Yeah, Mark Ryden's artwork is very weird.

August 31st 2010



August 31st 2010


Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah the artwork is definitely a contributing factor for buying this album i think

August 31st 2010


Never heard this, I have Sweet Oblivion and it rules.

August 31st 2010


Album Rating: 3.5

Sweet Oblivion seems to be widely regarded as their best but this is very solid also. Well worth a listen. Thanks to whoever put the album image up too by the way

June 27th 2011


Album Rating: 3.5

Nice review, you sum up the band's sound pretty well. Only heard Sweet Oblivion and Dust so far but they're both great albums, will check this out next.

Digging: Left Lane Cruiser - Dirty Spliff Blues

June 28th 2011


Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks, I think I actually prefer Sweet Oblivion but this is still a great record, a little edgier and raw compared to SO. I haven't heard Dust but its on my list

March 28th 2014


Album Rating: 4.5

The Screaming Trees didn't sound like fucking Pearl Jam or Soundgarden, which I love, The Screaming Trees existed way before those bands you mentioned. In fact, their first EP ["Other Worlds"] is from 1985. Anyways, "Uncle Anesthesia" is a superb album. Even if their best, at least for me, are 1988's psychedelic "Invisible Lantern" and 89's "Buzz Factory", two of my fave records from the eighties. Oh anyways, this album was produced by Chris Cornell 'cause he was a Trees' fan.

August 24th 2015


Album Rating: 3.5

Great album, but sort of a letdown after an excellent Buzz Factory. However, Uncle still has some great tunes, namely Bed Of Roses and Alice Said, the latter being probably my favorite Trees song.

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