ARTIST: Alice In Chains
YEAR RELEASED: 1990
CHART ACTION: US #42, UK #24
SINGLES: We Die Young, Man in the Box (#18 Mainstream Rock), Bleed the Freak
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Sea of Sorrow
LINEUP: Layne Staley, Jerry Cantrell, Mike Starr, Sean Kinney
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Seattle band straddling the lines between metal, grunge, and alternative get noticed due to its radio-friendly sound that belies a very dark tone.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: This record pummels your head right out of the get go with “We Die Young”, the heaviest metalist track on the album. As you go on, you notice the tracks get slower, heavier lyrically, and on some with catchy hooks made for rock radio.
Staley’s voice and Cantrell’s music make a dynamic combo for the most part. The singer had a knack of conveying his personal pain and angst into the songs he was singing (even though Cantrell wrote at least half of the lyrics on the record). He had a good gift of melody, and Cantrell could work some magic in weaving riffs and melodic solos around everything.
However, the mid-point of the album gets a bit turgid and draggy and loses steam. They had a tendency to wallow in a slower tempo song for way too long and turn it into a heavy dirge that doesn’t go anywhere. The record picks up again at the end, thankfully. It’s a good representative to the more commercial grunge-esque sound that was happening before the big explosion a couple of years later.
NOTES & MINUTAE: A local promoter financed some demos for the band in 1988, but the day before they were to record the studio was busted as part of a huge marijuana sting operation. Obviously, they had to postpone!
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No
GRADE: B. It does get a bit draggy in the middle, but it has a great start and good ending.