After tackling both Soundgarden's Superunknown and Stone Temple Pilots' Purple, we're continuing on with our grunge appreciation throwback series with another record by a key band in the grunge movement.
Grunge always had two main sides to it: the emotional side with powerful lyrics and messages, and the jams. Alice In Chains tended to stick more to the jammier sides of things, delivering powerful riffs to pair with the late Layne Stanley's shredding vocals. Alice In Chains brought wild rock in Dirt, their sophomore album with a big presence.
There are few breaks on Dirt, making it an hour of pure rock. You're thrown right into the fray with opening track 'Them Bones,' the song's distorted powerchords roaring under Stanley's raspy vocals acting as the real driving force of the track. Big riffs continue to storm in 'Dam That River,' with the vocals coming out to shine in 'Rain When I Die' on top of the dirty riff.
The nature of the guitars really gives this album its unique sound. There are many different tones it goes through; the chiller, wavier vibes of 'Rooster' accentuate the lighter vocals (though the odd lyrics don't really help the song's quality). 'Down In A Hole' begins with beautiful acoustics, soon building into a wonderful ballad with beautiful harmonies. The guitars go crazy in 'Godsmack,' delivering some truly crazy riffs and noises.
Alice In Chains brought wild rock in Dirt, and while it does go off-kilter at points, it solidifies their position as one of the flagbearers of grunge. No one could quite master the same energy and chaos their music had while still sounding so refined. It's that bashfulness in their tunes that really helped them forward rock as a whole. Layne Stanley is sadly no longer with us, but the rest of Alice In Chains (with their new vocalist) are still going strong, so their legacy still isn't done delivering just yet, either.
Favorite Tracks: Down In A Hole, Them Bones
Least Favorite Tracks: Untitled, Junkhead, Rooster
Rating: 75 / 100
Stream or buy Dirt on Apple Music or Amazon: