Review Summary: If metal resurfaced in any form in this time, look no further.
"The prehistoric and historic periods of Man
are first divided into "stone ages", the so-called
Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) and Neolithic (New Stone Age).
The Stone Ages are followed by the Ages of Metal."
There you go; we’re talking about history here. A personal story would be so unfittingly if I’m going to put words to describe Dirt, I mean Dirt is what it fu**ing is. Call it sludge metal, “alternative” metal, hard rock, grunge… I don’t care Wikipedia, everybody with an actual brain has already listened to this masterpiece and those who haven’t are missing narration.
How the f*ck am I listening to good non-disco music from the eighties? Anybody who knows this answer is already setting up a list in their minds. From the ones that more or less created the metal genre, like Led fu**ing Zeppelin to the guys that kept that sh*t alive through mid 80’s such as Megadeth.
Well, the 90’s changed a lot. Bands that were relevant back in the day were certainly disregarded in this epoch. All those germane ideas were being tweaked to create new umm…bullsh*t. Although some scrap of decent thoughts were turned to bands with a hint of creativity, none stood out to actually represent and conserve the genre for what it was/is in this time.
Jerry Cantrell along with Staley however, came here to f*ck sh*t up. While Metallica was being busy trying to be grunge, or pop, or pussyfying metal, AIC had already a stellar debut and a sophomore beast called Dirt which was, bizarrely enough, mainstream.
Drugs are bad, they create dirt. Staley was fighting his demons as he wrote/sung the words in the studio. You strictly know how honest is this sh*t, and how he manage to put such suffering and pain so centered on record is beyond me. Potheads Cantrell, Starr and Kinney were just having fun making this cathartic massive of art, but particularly Jerry has a lot more take on this than he is given credit.
His sinister bequest is splattered all over the album. The guy sings backing vocals to only add torrents of muddy filth to what Layne is already singing, and his acid riffing only completes the darkness being tossed here. I ought to commend his offbeat riffs on Dam That River and his minor chords on Them Bones; of course, none of this would be effective without the band’s odd-time signatures. Prove of that, is the slow tempo of the title tack. While Cantrell’s guitar screams along with Staley’s lyrics, the whole band, bearing in mind those bluesy bass lines, take the pace slowly to bluster your jugular.
Heavy riffing aside, the darkness in this is most visible in the mellow songs. Down In A Hole is paradoxically a suicidal note and shows how dissimilar and fitting is this sound for Staley’s voice. Rain When I Die is another standout, lyrically it may sound overemotional but at least, in a much f*ked up manner, I say sh*t was real which gives a spooky aura when giving this a listen.
There’s so little said about the goddamn songs on this album that validate this as a classic, but a lot that has been said already in many other reviews, that I can only sum this as really damn heavy, it’s heavier than The Black Album, and certainly heavier than Ten, Nevermind and Badmotorfinger altogether. If metal resurfaced in any form in this time, look no further. Their new album kicked a lot of butthurt ass and I keep looking forward, but this was far more convincing than anything released by their contemporaries, period.