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Dirt - Alice in Chains

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Genre: Indie Rock & Punk - Grunge / Artist: Alice in Chains / Import / Audio CD released 2001-12-10 at Columbia

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    3 Reviews
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      16.02.2011 20:13
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      An essential purchase for anyone who's a fan of rock music.

      Released in 1992, the second album by Seattle grunge band Alice in Chains, Dirt would shape the band's career and lives more than they could have ever imagined. An altogether heavier, darker and less radio-friendly effort than the band's 1990 debut Facelift, Dirt's blatant drug influences are all too obvious with the band's substance dependence ultimately contributing to the departure of one band member, and the tragic death of lead singer Layne Staley, in what has often been described as the "world's longest suicide."

      But just to talk about their drug use would be doing them a huge injustice, because in Dirt the band found themselves with a monster hit which, despite its dark themes, gathered huge amounts of airtime, earned them a money spinning world tour and a place on the Lollapalooza bill. With the pounding riffs of songs like Them Bones, Dam That River and Junkhead, interspersed with more poignant efforts like Down in a Hole, Rain When I Die and Rooster, the band found themselves admired and respected by huge metal bands like Metallica and Slayer, not to mention adored by a fiercely loyal fan base, and it seemed like Alice in Chains were about to take over the world. Unfortunately, that never quite happened. But make no mistake, this was the album that could and should have taken them there, and it still sounds as fresh today as it always did.

      In recent years, Alice in Chains has reformed with new singer William DuVall, performed featuring a host of guest musicians including James Hetfield, Phil Anselmo, Maynard James Keenan, and Sebastian Bach (see, I told you they were liked), and even released the new album Black Gives Way to Blue. I think the band always felt that their story wasn't written and that there was unfinished business to conduct. Personally, I couldn't be happier, because if the new albums are anywhere near as good as this, fans of rock music have some treats awaiting them.

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      19.02.2010 23:33
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      Essential

      Drugs and music: on the one hand you've got Brian Wilson's shiny LSD infused timeless pop classics, on the other hand you've got guttural, heroin ravaged darkness begging for the light at the end of an increasingly bleak tunnel. Enter Alice in Chains, and their second, darkest effort Dirt.

      Every song on this album positively stinks of junk, but somehow the theme and the music are a perfect match. It's an unforgiving experience, opening unkindly with Them Bones. It's akin to being jabbed and shouted at whilst you were just nodding off, and sets the lyrical tone for the album ("I feel so alone, gonna end up a big old pile of them bones"). Dam that River is a punching presence amongst the gloom, until Rain When I Die pours further misery into the speakers with its wailing vocals and wah.

      Rooster, with its Vietnam imagery, is a crushing anthem, offering a brief respite from the drudgery of addiction before we get Junkhead, the title track, and God Smack. The real jewels in this crown though are Down in a Hole, a desperate ballad of hopelessness, and the closing Would?, a surprise given its brooding unorthodox structure.

      Harrowing yet compelling, it's an album you come back to time and time again, despite feeling like a queasy voyeur. A masterclass in misery.

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      05.10.2009 20:17
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      A superb mix of grunge, rock and metal.

      Released back in 1992, Alice in Chains' second full length 'Dirt' is a brilliantly-executed mix of grunge, alt rock and metal, bolstered by warm acoustic passages and bluesy/classic rock guitar solos. The self-pitying lyrics deal with the issues of severe drug addiction, painful relationships, and feelings of worthlessness and resignation, and whilst they do on occasion slip into cliché they still manage to come across as disarmingly honest and emotionally powerful. Frontman Layne Staley would eventually be found dead from an overdose in his apartment a decade later following years of steadily declining health, making the album seem incredibly poignant as Layne tries to come to terms with his addiction and the premature death that he seems to view as being inevitable.

      Every song on the album has its own unique sense of character, and there is inventiveness present throughout, the songs leaping from crushing, doomy black-sabbath like riffs one minute to rock ballad-like sections the next, with Layne's pained singing frequently harmonising with the vocals of guitarist Jerry Cantrell and imaginative multi-layered vocal arrangements by Staley employed throughout. Comparisions to Nirvana are inevitable, but for my money Alice in Chains are by far the better band, and 'Dirt' is a classic album and a must for rock and metal fans everywhere.

      Tracklisting-

      1. "Them Bones" 2:30
      2. "Dam That River" 3:09
      3. "Rain When I Die" 6:01
      4. "Down in a Hole" 5:38
      5. "Sickman" 5:29
      6. "Rooster" 6:15
      7. "Junkhead" 5:09
      8. "Dirt" 5:16
      9. "God Smack" 3:50
      10. "Iron Gland[II]" 0:43
      11. "Hate to Feel" 5:16
      12. "Angry Chair" 4:47
      13. "Would?" 3:28

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    • Product Details

      Disc #1 Tracklisting
      1 Them Bones
      2 Dam That River
      3 Rain When I Die
      4 Sick Man
      5 Rooster
      6 Junkhead
      7 Dirt
      8 God Smack
      9 Hate To Feel
      10 Angry Chair
      11 Down In A Hole
      12 Would