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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Music, Genius, A mellow Alice in Chains, 14 Feb 2005
This review is from: Jar Of Flies (Audio CD)
Words can not even begin to describe as to how this album can grip your emotions, throw them about a bit, and yet when its all over, place them back just as they were. Some would say that this is not an album to listen to after a heart break, or maybe on a lonely night, though I would disagree.
This album is dark, light, and in other cases, what ever you want it to be. Jar of Flies is very different from the albums, which surround its release. This is a mellow Alice in Chains, though none of the attitude is lost. Above all else, this album is simply beautiful, with the vocals and instrumentals sweeping you away from the reality of life for 30 or so minutes.
Cantrell's guitar work is far subtler than Facelift, Dirt, SAP and the self-titled album, though the brilliance of Kinney and Inez shouldn't be overlooked.
The Vocals again are softer, where Staley (rip) and Cantrell share roles as the lead vocalist, complementing each other perfectly.
A quick description of each track can be attempted, but justice could never be done.
1). Rotten Apple: Inez kicks off what is essentially a dark track, possibly the darkest on the album, with a slow gravely base, soon accompanied by Cantrell's Guitar work (electric in this track), never excessive, never understated.
2). Nutshell: This is an acoustic number, and isn't so much as dark as emotion provoking. A fantastic track which only seems to get recognition on the unplugged album, which is such a shame.
3). Stay Away: This is one of the better known songs on the album, and is the start of the album changing tone to a more up beat mood. Certainly a track which could pick you up when your up, and drag you down when your down, though personally I find it lifts up the mood regardless.
4). No Excuses: Like Stay Away, this track is one of the better known ones off the album, though is by far the most "up beat" track on the album along with Don't Follow. Brilliant Guitar work and surrounding percussion throughout.
5). Whale and the Wasp: An instrumental track, and weirdly, despite the lack of any vocals, possibly my favourite track. This short, but deeply touching guitar solo really will change your mood, whether you want it to or not.
6). Don't Follow: The great thing about this track is the way it changes its tone half way though the track, from being slow and melodic, to suddenly faster paced / upbeat with you barley realising.
7). This is probably the closest to Alice In Chains other material this album ventures, although it is certainly not out of place on this album.
Any AIC fan should most certainly have this album in their collection, a must for any rock fan. All self respecting rock fans should own this album, forget the crap which is being pumped out these days singing about teenage struggle and strife, this is the real deal, casting all that nonsensical crap to one side. This is real music.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The mellow side of AIC, 16 Jun 2001
This review is from: Jar Of Flies/Sap (Audio CD)
These two eps are a great example of the range of Alice in Chains and were a completely shock to the cynics who wrote them off as heavy grungers, plain and simple, after Facelift and Dirt. The stuff on Jar Flies is great. The first two tracks are mind-blowing. You have the power-chord fuelled mantra of Rotten Apple, followed immediately by the wistful, forlorn acoustic feel of Nutshell (the version here is probably preferable to the one on Unplugged, due to the difference in power of Layne Staley's vocals between the two albums). No Excuses and I stay Away are also very good and even the instrumental drone of Whale and the Wasp has a certain poignancy to it. I am not so keen on Sap, but Brother is great tune and the other tracks still wipe the floor with a lot of stuff around these days attempting to emulate AIC. Definitely a worthwhile addition to any record collection.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars at their best!, 19 Oct 2002
By A Customer
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Jar Of Flies/Sap (Audio CD)
For a band renouned for their heavy grunge sound it is indeed ironic that their best piece of work is this little gem. A mini album and EP together of mostly acoustic much mellower arrangements leave you wondering what they could have achieved if Layne had stayed clean and they strayed more permenantly from the dirgy sound they were famous for.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another late night., 20 Feb 2003
By 
George Connor (The Remote Parts of, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Jar Of Flies/Sap (Audio CD)
First, can we please dispense with the "grunge" label. How similar are Pearl Jam and Nirvana? Would you compare Led Zepplin with the Sex Pistols. Grunge only existed as a word to tie together bands with a "Generation X" philosophy. As a musical term, it's fairly redundant.
I bought this double-EP when it first came out and it stayed in my CD player for months.
Contrasting the ferocity of other AIC albums, Jar of Flies shifts the music down several gears. The result is wondrous.
The openers, "Rotten Apple" and "Nutshell" are hypnotic, drawling, brooding spine-tinglers. From the very first time I heard the open bass lick, I was hooked.
And, thanks to the paring down of the guitars, we are finally given Cantrell/Staley's harmonies at their most intimate, most haunting.
As a late-night CD, or one just to put you in that pensive frame of mind, this is perfect.
I must admit, I had drifted away from AIC in recent years (primarily because they'd stopped making music) but was devastated to hear of Layne Staley's death. I immediately went home and listened to Jar of Flies and can think of no better epitaph for the man. A brilliant, moving, echoing record.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The First Album To Truly Scare Me, 18 May 2003
By 
S. Wright (Sheffield, England.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Jar Of Flies/Sap (Audio CD)
After producing 2 albums of pure straight out turgid, pain-filled, angsty heavy metal, you could tell something even more sublime was going to land. And nothing this quiet and somber has ever hit quite so hard. Written and recorded in about a week, Jar Of Flies is the Alice In Chains acoustic master-piece.
This is certainly a late night, nothing is right album. For a start, the typical 60's style vocal harmonies on opener, 'Rotten Apple', are even more spine-tingling in this mode and mood than ever, the guitar on highlight, 'Nutshell' is enough to make the most sober mind think twice, and the guitar solo and lyrics can only be called spine-tingling. It's quite unusual that the least-good of the tracks are the singles. 'I Stay Away' and 'No Excuses' are still acoustic master-pieces, but still somewhat lack in comparison to some of the album tracks, despite the lovely string arrangements on 'I Stay Away'...'Whale And Whasp' is a fine example of how to do an instrumental right, and doesn't become boring like some do, while the Jerry Cantrell sung, 'Don't Follow' is one of the main highlights on the CD, not changing the pace but forever changing your mind. The only real change of pace of the entire CD, is the final track, the almost arrogant sounding, 'Swing On This', which is a nice change of pace, although not by much, but it's there to keep the suspense up. And it's certainly full of that. One of the most disturbing records I've ever heard. Close the windows, lock the doors, sit down, don't look at the rain splashed windows and consider everything you could have done differently, but don't forget to flick this on lowly in the background darkness...
Sap, although still an acoustic album is an entirely different kettle of fish. It's not quite as mature and 'all there' as 'Jar Of Flies', but it certainly can I have similar impact. Opener 'Brother' is as low and reflective as anything from JOF, with lyrics that you can tell were written some time ago, due to the 'not quite perfect' Alice In Chains lyrical style, and the fact that these seemed like big demons indeed...'Got Me Wrong' another story of mixed feelings in relationships, is straight from Cantrell's heart and guitar, 'Right Turn' includes Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell adding to this song, but never doing anything for it. This is basically an album that shows where they were, and when you heard Jar Of Flies, you find where they've ended up. And that's one of the premier hard rock bands of the nineties, if not ever, with a rare and successful sensitive side. And that's so very rare and refreshing, that this immediatly becomes an essential purchase, if not one that should be locked away and should only come out on those times where nothing wants to go right.
5 Stars.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfection: No Contest, 3 Mar 2005
By 
M. Turner - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Jar Of Flies/Sap (Audio CD)
At the exact time of writing this, I am listening to the opening track of 'Jar of Flies', a song called 'Rotten Apple'. I'm listening to Mike Inez's beautiful bassline, and Jerry Cantrell's wonderful opening riff, and chills are running down my spine at the beauty of the music issuing from my computer. And this album is made up purely of tracks that do this.
I wouldn't go so far as to call this double album acoustic, because if you compare the songs on this to their counterparts on 'Unplugged', even someone who's never picked up a guitar should be able to tell that there are electrics on here. How could they create that riff at the start of 'Rotten Apple' otherwise? Anyway, this is a fantastic record, and I would recommend it to anyone with even a passing intrest in Alice In Chains. It was in my CD player for weeks - it is almost impossible to get tired of music this good.
'Sap' has its good points as well, but I do generally prefer the versions of 'Brother' and 'Got Me Wrong' that were performed for the 'Unplugged' taping. They do work better in simply acoustic format. Or maybe it's just the charisma of the band when they were playing them. Who knows? 'Right Turn' offers a rare treat, collaboration with other bands! Oh wow! Isn't it great! (For thos of limited imagination, that was sarcasm of its lowest form). Anyway, personally I think 'Right Turn' is a great track, but maybe that's just because I've got a recording of pretty much everything Chris Cornell has ever done (buy Temple of the Dog and Soundgarden! Now! Or risk beating by angry Soundgarden fans!). Mark Arm from Mudhoney pops up on here as well - it took a tab search to find that out. Anyway, brilliant album, buy now, do it, do it, DO IT! You won't regret it, unless you're a Westlife fan.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great work!, 4 Oct 2010
By 
Renato Medurecan (Zagreb, Croatia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Jar Of Flies (Audio CD)
Absolutely different from the past AIC records, but also great, chill and melodic. Only "bad"
thing on this record is that there are only 8 songs. Wish that there is much more. Really great stuff!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jar of Flies/Sap, 31 May 2006
By 
Spider Monkey (UK) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Jar Of Flies/Sap (Audio CD)
These two Alice in Chains ep's are short and sweet, but offer some great music. They show a more chilled side to AIC and are all the better for it. You get the usual amazing guitar playing and vocals and some moving songs (`Nutshell` probably being one of the best AIC songs out there). I tend to prefer `Jar of Flies' over `Sap', but considering you get both albums in one package this works out as quite a bargain. Kick back, chill out and enjoy two slices of laid back AIC.

Feel free to check out my blog which can be found on my profile page.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of just "Jar Of Flies", 17 May 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Jar Of Flies/Sap (Audio CD)
My copy of "Jar of Flies" isn't the double album, so my review doesn't include songs from "Sap". However, I can say that JOF contains some of alice in chains' finest moments. This record will remind you of how great alice sounded when you first heard them. Although only an acoustic EP, this easily competes with any full-length AIC album. Tracks like "rotten apple", the reflective moods of "nutshell", and the majestic "i stay away" (complete with string section) effectively mirror Layne Staley's mellow and emotive vocals and Jerry Cantrell's precision guitar work. A must-have for any fan.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best, 10 Sep 2006
By 
Jane K. Chisnell "zero rebellion" (Chesterfield, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Jar Of Flies/Sap (Audio CD)
This is the first album that i got of AIC and from the opening track 'Rotten Apple' this is just a fantastic album. Some of the highlights on there are 'Rotten Apple', 'Nutshell', 'Whale & Wasp' and 'Brother'. This was probably the best start i could have had for AIC. This is so much more mellow than albums like 'Dirt' and 'Alice In Chains'. But if you are starting out with AIC then this will ease into the brooding and pure brilliance that is AIC. This album is for chilling out late at night, and just listening to Layne's fantastic vocals and Jerry's sweet guitar solos and riffs. Great Album. All the songs on here are great, but with the exception of 'Nutshell' which is probably one of their best songs they've ever written.
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