Wow, this ablum is simply amazing. What more can I say? Well, OK I'll say a bit more...
Is it grunge? Is it metal? Does it matter? All I can say is that it is an intensly powerful hard rock album with incredible songs. It seems to have have everything. Awesome riffs, choruses, solos, lyrics and vocals. It's mindblowing stuff. What were these guys on? Well, heroin to be precise.
Layne Staley's lyrics chronicle the ups and apparently limitless downs of heroin use to such an extent that AIC and, himself especially, were never able to shrug off the tag of 'Seattle junkies'. But enough of that, what about the album?
Well, it's not ALL about drugs but it's fair to say they play a huge part. What stands out though is the songs, rather than the lyrics. The awesome riffs of Them Bones, Dam That River, Junkhead and Godsmack (recognise that word? Yep, Sully Erna and co. nicked it for themselves) are balanced perfectly with the acoustic brilliance of Rooster and Down In A Hole. Then there are the choruses of Rain When I Die and Angry Chair. Two tracks which appear to be going nowhere until... Bang!, the chorus will just hit you. Layne Staley was often seen as the driving force behind the band (and his vocals and lyrics are sensational) but in all honesty, it's Jerry Cantrell's riffs and songwriting that keep this album from sinking without trace.
Then there's 'Would?'. Impossible to classify this song but I've never heard a better song to finish an album. Or, come to think of it, a better song! It'll leave you speechless.
All in all, this is essential for ANY rock fan (and I mean that). This is AIC's greatest album and more than a match for anything else that came out of Seattle or, come to think of it, anything that's come out in the last ten years.