Every time Alice in Chains are mentioned inevitably everybody thinks of Dirt, the album which drove them to a more mainstream commercial success, and in my case, my first crush on the band, in first place.
Alice In Chains is in my top 5 all time favorite bands ever (Layne Staley era, please). I’m not sure whether I told you I got acquainted with them thanks to a very convincing recommendation coming from a special friend, who described Dirt as an overwhelming experience, an album written and recorded under the influence of the most threatening drugs. I was 17 and he was 26. Needless to say I was fascinated by that definition. And of course, this guy was absolutely right. Dirt is awesome.
I’d have trouble deciding which album is my favorite, because depending on my personal circumstances I change my mind a lot. I think of the self titled album, with the tripod legged dog as my favorite, but then I fall in love with Jar of Flies, when I’m depressed or angry I’m in need of Dirt or the Unplugged so…I don’t know.
If you observe, I haven’t mentioned their debut album, Facelift, because it took me some time to get used to it on one hand, and because I want to focus on it right now, as I’ve been listening to it intensely lately, to balance and give a break to my current addiction to Clutch.
I find Facelift a particularly underrated album. Most bands have their tops, no doubt about it, but if you dig into AIC’s history, theirs was a pretty fast ascending career, and not only the talent of the combo formed by Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell had to do with it, but also the support of MTV by adding Man in a Box to their regular programming was key to their success. In barely 2 years, AIC were on tour supporting Van Halen, Iggy Pop, Anthrax, Megadeth…
This album is not one I think of in first place, but when I pull the CD out of the shelf and start playing it, I always have the same feeling. It is a masterpiece. And not only because of Man in a Box, which is super powerful and catchy, but also because Sea Of Sorrow, We Die Young, Bleak the Freak or It Ain’t Like That…Their sound is more metal, with riffs more present than in later albums.
And then, there’s Love Hate Love to be highlighted separately due to its perfection and intensity. Really, Staley’s desperate yelling in anger is insane, Staley’s guitar solo is killer, always getting me goose bumps. There’s a very dark and twisted song, suffocating and heart-rending. Must admit at certain point in my life I felt close to the idea this song transmits: anger after being cheated. You know, a case of “I love you but I’d kill you right now, you’ve ruined my life and I’m frustrated because there’s nothing I can do” kind of thing.
Winter is hard to endure when bad weather is kicking, and the soundtrack chosen usually reflects my state of mind. Powerful moments followed by depressing stages. Facelift suit perfect. Fortunately Spring is about to arrive, and even though is quite unstable, the warming sun is healing, and Clutch are ruling my world now.
Have a great week!