Alice In Chains
Dirt


5.0
classic

Review

by Brendan Schroer STAFF
October 18th, 2012 | 1528 replies | 41,707 views


Release Date: 1992 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The dust is rising and the sun is dying.

It's a little ironic that Alice in Chains were considered such a popular force in grunge music, considering they were perhaps one of the most sludgy and vile bands of the 90's. Between such maniacal singing and screaming, riffs buried in a huge mound of thick distortion, and such depressing thoughts of the world around them, it was clear that Alice in Chains were in a league of their own. Where Nirvana would tidy up their sound for 1991's Nevermind, this band wouldn't sacrifice how dirty and low their music was, no matter if they got popular or not.

This brings us to their second offering, Dirt. It's an album so sickening and yet so perfect; an album so gloomy and yet so heavenly. What we have here is a flawless collection of 90's metal classics, most of them laced with some of the most morbidly dark and flat-out honest songs written in their time. All of this is wrapped in a musical package that's so consistent and consistently intense that it's very hard to ignore.

Oddly enough, the experience begins with two of the most upbeat tracks, "Them Bones" and "Dam That River." Starting with Layne Staley's high-pitched vocal bursts, "Them Bones" is a song about our mortality; it's basically speaking about how we're all going to die, and of course for everyone it will be inescapable. Uplifting start, huh? Anyway, this is supported by a bizarre 7/8 rhythm with the guitar work being downtuned to high heaven. All the instruments feel hollow, but it only represents the band all that much more. "Dam That River" is the fastest song on the album (debatable with "God Smack" later on the album), and also probably the most uplifting, although that certainly isn't saying much. The pace of the track is akin to "Sex Type Thing" by Stone Temple Pilots, and the chorus is equally aggressive and haunting.

After that's done though, welcome to musical hell. The riffs devolve more into a slow grind, and the pain of the vocals and lyrics only increases as the record wears on. Songs like "Junkhead" and "God Smack" are very specifically about the band members' drug addictions (specifically heroin), while songs like "Dirt" allude heavily to even more brooding images like death and suicide. Many of the songs have more relation to doom metal and sludge metal than grunge at this point, and any similarities to the other members of the Big 4 of the genre become less apparent. Perhaps the best example of this is the song "Hate to Feel." It starts off with a 3/4 riff with an extremely haunting chromatic guitar progression; however, said guitar sound becomes more crunchy on the low end of things, and the power of the doomy grind the song employs feels like the equivalent of being buried under the hot sun.

The members' technical abilities are great, too; each member contributes almost equally to the power of the experience musically, and they react to any quick changes in the songs very efficiently and effectively. Of course, the highest praise still has to go out to Layne Staley and guitarist Jerry Cantrell for creating such a foreboding and deep atmosphere on the album. Most of the time, both of them go hand in hand with each other, tossing parts of the songs to each other and also harmonizing extremely well with each others' vocals.

There's not much more to say. The album is perfect, a monolith of doom-and-gloom that stands as one of ultimate musical statements of modern music. If you haven't listened to it yet, make it your next purchase; it should be number one on the "to buy" list.



Recent reviews by this author
Soundtrack Mega Man X5 OSTSteel Panther All You Can Eat
Shakira Shakira.Death Symbolic
So-Cal Rocket Dynamics Too Bad She Won't LiveCarnifex Die Without Hope
user ratings (2828)
Chart.
4.4
superb
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
AliW1993
Contributing Reviewer
October 18th 2012



7224 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good review. Amazing album, needless to say.

silentpotatosfan
October 18th 2012



173 Comments


5 it ali you fucking pussy

porch
October 18th 2012



8390 Comments


proto-flannel butt rock

http://oi49.tinypic.com/2ahzmmd.jpg



MeatSalad
October 18th 2012



13335 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Roxcks

Digging: Toxik - Think This

KILL
October 18th 2012



67023 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

diamond lie sweet

Digging: Picchio dal Pozzo - Picchio dal Pozzo

WhiteNoise
October 18th 2012



2872 Comments


sup KILL

Digging: Eagulls - Eagulls

KILL
October 18th 2012



67023 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yo crocky hows life

KjSwantko
October 18th 2012



8717 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Album is a bona fide masterpiece. Just couldn't 5 it since it isn't one of my personal favorites anymore.

truekebabpower
October 18th 2012



639 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I actually never got how this band was so popular, there's a lot to potentially hate on here. But I
STILL can't get pass the fact that you rated this much lower than Demi Lovato. Nothing wrong with it
really, but I'm slowly but steadily dying inside because of it.

DominionMM1
October 18th 2012



8793 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

album rules. pos'd.

Digging: Clutch - Blast Tyrant

mindleviticus
October 18th 2012



7932 Comments


I like the s/t the most

KILL
October 18th 2012



67023 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

thats their worst gj

Maniac!
October 18th 2012



26187 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

the s/t kicks ass

KILL
October 18th 2012



67023 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yea but the others are bester

truekebabpower
October 18th 2012



639 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I could see it being their worst(the production sucks ass too), probably has the most weaknessess, but just because it's so fragile, it's really badass in it's own unique way, and it's their darkest

savaah
October 18th 2012



269 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I find the self-titled a hard listen, like they're dying or somethin...oops

truekebabpower
October 18th 2012



639 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

that's the beauty of it, you have to be in a more depressive mode though

Chortles
October 18th 2012



17507 Comments


nah you just gotta be ready for sweet jams

Digging: Chico Buarque - Construção

YoYoMancuso
October 18th 2012



10099 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

fantastic album

ManintheBox
November 6th 2012



867 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Amazing masterpiece of a fucking album which as achieved a 4.4 rating, fuck yeah m/!!

Digging: Triptykon - Melana Chasmata



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 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy