A Master Of Grunge
Jerry Cantrell is a huge influence to me, both in guitar work and song writing. With his guitar, he has a sense of melody and a sense of anger which I really enjoy. With his song writing, he writes some of the most listenable tracks yet. He's a melodic man, both with his axe and vocals and writes some of the best songs I've heard from a solo project. While this is a solo project, it doesn't feel that way. A lot of these songs sound like they could come off any Alice in Chains records and there are even vocal harmonies. I think he just doubles up his voice but it seems Jerry misses his old band as the tracks reflect Alice in Chains a lot. Tracks like Mother's spinning in Her Grave Glass Dick Jones sounds extremely like his former band. The ways the vocals are done are probably the biggest reference to his Alice In Chains songs, they are two people singing and they both harmonise with each other the way Layne and Jerry would. But a reason for this was that Jerry was the main songwriter for the band.
This leads us to 2002's Degradation Trip, an album dedicated to Layne. This album is extremely good but I just want to get through all the negatives first. First of all, his voice doesn't branch out much. He has an amazing voice and is a great singer however he doesn't use it to his full potential. The harmonies are done nicely but I can't help but think of Jerry's old band when I hear this. Second of all, Jerry doesn't try anything new, he is still making grunge songs with bits of acoustics and the like touched into them. This album would be way better if all that was different. I speak for plenty when I say that I want something more from Jerry. He's a great musician but he needs to start experimenting rather than doing the same thing in every band he's in.
That's all the negatives out the way so I can be positive now. This album is an incredible listen and features some of the greatest songs he's written. This may contradict to what I wrote in the other paragraph but it's true. Songs like Anger Rising, Angel Eyes and She Was My Girl are incredible display of his talents. Anger Rising was the single and it is a brilliant epic song. It starts of with a sweet acoustic guitar and Jerry harmonising (which shows you you'll be in for something special). It's quite a heavy song and probably one of the darkest he's ever written. His vocals are superb through the duration and the lyrics can create brilliant imagery. It's a truly spooky atmospheric song. I do have a small complaint and that is that the ending goes on a bit too much.
Jerry's guitar work is also some of his best. His riffs contain a real punch in the face and his acoustic melodies can put a tear in your eye. His solos are a bit all over the place but add a bit of spice to the songs. Robert Trujillo of Metallica fame does bass on this album and he does a fine job, I'd have liked to have seen more times where he would stand out but at the end of the day, it's Jerry's name on the CD. The drums don't do much but keep a beat, as simple as that. Overall the musicianship couldn't be better but Jerry is obviously the main highlight. The lyrics are usually dark, either metaphoric or bare all. I especially like the lyrics to Anger Rising. The lyrics, "Alabama trailer park they call home, Boy standing at attention in the corner of his own, Terrified, scorpion crawling the wall, By the way father could you please beat me some more?" is a great example of Jerry's imaginative mind.
Good guitar work from Jerry
All round great song writing
A lot of really great songs
So there you have it, any fan of rock, grunge and most definitely Alice in Chains should give this a warm welcome