Many considered grunge to be the death of metal back in the 90’s. Whilst the thrash bands of the 80’s gradually descended into identity crisis mediocrity, grunge seemed to be the “in scene”. Whilst all the big grunge bands offered different, it is perhaps ironic that Alice in Chains are now looked upon almost as a metal band. They were part of the scene that “killed metal” after all. Listening to any of Alice in Chains albums you can hear why they are well liked amongst metalheads and this is the album that is considered their magnum opus.
It’s easy to hear why. Here Alice in Chains perfectly combine Jerry Cantrell’s sludgy, doomy riffs with Layne Staley’s desperate, dirty sounding vocals to produce great song after great song. Not to mention the delicious group harmonies which cut through the gloom and provide some irresistible hooks. It all contributes to an atmosphere like a druggy desert party that’s gone wrong, which isn’t perhaps a great surprise with the substances the band were probably experimenting with at the time.
There’s just so many fantastic songs on here. Songs that were huge at the time and still get played today. Which for me illustrates just how good this album is. That some dreary band from a limited scene could produce this album and it bear so many hits. If I was to recommend one album to listen to from the grunge era, it would be this one. Without hesitation.
Personal Fave Track: “Sickman”