Alice in Chains
Alice in Chains


4.5
superb

Review

by Mookid USER (29 Reviews)
August 5th, 2014 | 33 replies


Release Date: 1995 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "We pay our debts sometime"

It's almost hard to believe that grunge legends Alice in Chains are still standing at full attention in today's age, even after the harsh complications they've faced during their lifetime; Layne Staley's death being the main culprit. Despite this obvious tragedy, they've still managed to bring something to the table with their sound and technique. Alice in Chains, although still having the band in its entirety, would be Staley's finale album with the group, and surely enough, it would be a memorable one to say the least. What we have here is a consistent, blistering, melodic, and unmistakably kick-ass album that is easily their heaviest album to date. This album generously offers the same type of Alice in Chains we've seen from day one (loud guitars, insightful lyrics, frantic drumming), only with a tweak; this album is probably their most unique album to date, as many guitar riffs and song layouts are atonal, drone-esque, and create a sludgy, moody atmosphere, something that works surprisingly well for the group as a whole. Instead of bulging guitar riffs and straight up "jam" songs, we are encountered here with complexly arranged tunes, featuring a more fragile atmosphere instead of just pure anger and resentment.

Personally, this is probably my favorite AIC record for one main reason; the variety. Here we have multiple 8 minute masterpieces, incredible instrumentation, and subject matter in relation to isolation, death, and acceptance. The songs here showcase immense talent with not only the production, but the musicianship itself, which is outstanding to say the least. Although their music has been generally easy to grasp onto, this album is a little more far-fetched in terms of accessibility; this album is much different from Dirt, and even Facelift. Alice in Chains present themselves well on this album, and on terms of consistency, this album is hard-at-work. The tempos have been noticeably reduced as well, markedly being a reason why this album is quite dreamy, meditative, and rather relaxing as opposed to spiraling, spastic musicianship.

Alice in Chains is a rather slow cooker; many songs here trump past 5 minutes and mostly take a while to build. A few songs here, such as Sludge Factory and Frogs are probably the most unique tunes these guys have crafted yet; they are dreamy, spacey, and retain a lot of intense creepiness. Depending on one's set of ears, I'm sure someone could mistake those 8 minute masterpieces for a sludge metal band, or even Mastodon perhaps (The riff to "Frogs" sounds scarily similar to a Mastodon song, almost like "Seabeast" or "Megaladon"). Both tracks remind me of a small paper airplane going down the side of a street during a flood; they seem to gently move along at a gliding pace.

Album opener "Grind" starts off with a venomous riff and leads into dark, twisted lyrics, evidently relating to Alice in Chains slumping into rock bottom (drug use, amputations, tour problems, etc) along with other heavy complications that the band faced during the time. “Heaven Beside You” features a groovy acoustic riff on top of lyrics relating to a bitter boy/girl breakup. “Head Creeps”, a personal favorite, is easily one of the most brutal, forceful song on the album. The song starts off with a pulsating, muddy guitar riff which follows into leeching, echoing vocals, albeit use of a vox. “God Am” is acquainted with a start-stop type of musicianship, while “Nothin' Song” has a more relaxing, fluttery vibe to it. “Over Now” is a perfect album closer with a delicate, compassionate atmosphere, more than likely about suffering and painful acceptance; the song has a candle lighting ceremony vibe to it, something that you might listen to when something from your life has been taken away. Despite the somewhat depressing gist, this song is beautiful, especially the last few minutes with Cantrell's amazingly powerful guitar melody. As the track evolves, the repeating lyric “we pay our debts sometime” starts gaining more and more emphasis, eventually shifting into full action towards the end of the song. This song is Alice in Chains at their pinnacle, especially with emotion and reflection.

Alice in Chains is definitely a memorable album with a lot of meat and tenderness that never manages to lose it's flavor. With lyrics involving isolation, regret, and addiction, this record feels like you're a lone survivor trying to escape. The musicianship and lyrical delivery make a staggering impact here, and feature Alice in Chains at their most primitive.

Recommended listen:

Grind
Heaven Beside You
Head Creeps
Nothin' Song
Frogs
Over Now



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user ratings (1469)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Supercoolguy64
August 5th 2014


2474 Comments


Good review, Pos'd

Digging: Kid606 - Don't Sweat The Technics

Froot
August 5th 2014


1423 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

[2]

First time in forever I've seen recommended tracks at the end of a review, lel

Mookid
August 5th 2014


1485 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thank you sir

Gonna give it another spin right now

Mookid
August 5th 2014


1485 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

"First time in forever I've seen recommended tracks at the end of a review, lel"

Yeahh, it's pretty dorky, but I personally like doing it...idk

SirDrumsalot
August 5th 2014


1604 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Recommended Tracks:

All of them, except God Am.

Mookid
August 5th 2014


1485 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

What didn't you like about God Am? My least favorite is probably So Close tbh

Necrotica
August 5th 2014


10137 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

God Am is fantastic :/

SirDrumsalot
August 5th 2014


1604 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I dont know what it is about it, but I've never really liked just that song. I've tried over and over but it just bores me.

Froot
August 5th 2014


1423 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Sure, God's all powerful, but does he have lips? Whoah...

Supercoolguy64
August 5th 2014


2474 Comments


Heaven besides you,
To heeeeell with meeeeeee

MadPat
August 5th 2014


50 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Underrated album.

Supercoolguy64
August 5th 2014


2474 Comments


a 3.8 average is not that bad

Froot
August 5th 2014


1423 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

tbh I'd probably 4 this if it were about 20mins shorter

MadPat
August 5th 2014


50 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sure, but I wish this album got as much attention as their previous work.

ajc1956
August 5th 2014


10 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review, pos'd.


Green Baron
August 5th 2014


20327 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Heaven beside you...

Supercoolguy64
August 5th 2014


2474 Comments


I made the same mistake again
YEAH

laughingman22
August 5th 2014


1937 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Over now is one the best song AIC ever made, perfect closer

Mookid
August 5th 2014


1485 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Agreed. One of my favorite songs of all time actually

BMDrummer
August 5th 2014


9997 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good review, love this album



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