on 29 November 2002
Its not often you find a record as good as this - I refer you too all other 5star reviews. Neither before or after this record were Alice In Chains as effective, Jar of Flies included. My only gripe about this version is the inexlicable track changes. When I bought this on tape oh about 10years ago, the awesome Down in a Hole followed Damn That River and was just one of those spine tingling moments in music. I used to sit on the school bus just shuddering with angst. I urge you to buy this record and recopy it onto cd in its most glorious track listing.
This is undoubtedly a classic album. Like every aspect of Alice in Chains' music it blurs the line between pain and beauty. Here, Layne Staley's vocals are ever impressive, Jerry Cantrell's lyrics are poetic and heart-felt, and his remarkable riffs prove that grunge was not the death of the guitarist. Alice in Chains stood above the rest of their fellow genre where guitarists were concerned; Cantrell's guitar is relentless, shifting from beautifully crafted melodies to heavy, chugging riffs and some effective soloing. He always delivered the perfect accompaniment to Layne's painfully distressed voice.
The vocals, for me, are the greatest aspect of all Alice in Chains' music. Layne's voice brimmed with so much emotion and was always so beautiful; a beauty that somehow weathered the despair of the words he sang. This album is the perfect example of how colourful and contradictory his voice really was; at once it is angelic and pained, pure and raw, and thoroughly soaked in sorrow. He captured the essence of the songs so perfectly in his vocals that you can't help but appreciate how personal they were to him. The lyrics are also a great accomplishment; ever brooding and meaningful, they paint a very honest and very revealing portrait of the band's collective troubles.
Practically every track on Dirt is a classic but a few standouts worth mentioning are 'Rooster', 'Down in a hole', and 'Rain when I die.' The song 'Would?' is arguably the greatest song on the album. It finishes off the record with a sudden, seemingly misplaced, burst of energy and though every part of the four-piece is on top form throughout the song, the bulk of the credit has to go to Mike Starr and his unforgettable bass riff which gives it one of the most powerful and recognisable intro's ever created. It is an emotional song about the Mother Love Bone frontman Andrew Wood, who we tragically lost in 1990, and it is simply brilliance.
Of course it's hard to rank the exceptional 'grunge' albums of the early 90s, with the likes of Pearl Jam's 'Ten' and Mother Love Bone's 'Apple' as well as Alice in Chains' own 'Facelift', but this is definately up there with the best. The loss of this band and its enigmatic frontman Layne Staley has left a gaping hole in the music scene; one it might never recover from!
on 12 September 2001
The Band's second full length album sees a slight departure from their 80s heavy metal influenced debut Facelift. This album brings a sludgier feel with songs like Dam that River and Godsmack delivering the type of heavy riffs that any rock fan dreams of. The band also show their softer side with absolute classics like Down in a Hole and Would? filling the listener with heart warming satisfaction whilst also proving that their song writing capabilities are up there with the best. Not one song on this album fails to satisfy and even the hardest of rock fans, while undoubtedly enjoying the heavier songs, will fall in love with the softer moments on the album. This was the album that brought Alice to my attention, as soon as it was played to me by a friend i knew that this was a band that could quench my thirst for both heavy straight up rock songs and slower more acoustic sounding songs. Layne's voice coupled with Jerry's amazing riffs and Songwriting ability makes any Alice album a must for any fan of rock music and Dirt in particular is a fantastic oppurtunity for anyone to become enlightened as to just how good this band is.
on 23 October 2000
Dirt is, without a doubt, the finest album that has ever been released by a Seattle band. The incredible riffing of Jerry Cantrell is complimented by the awesome vocals of Layne Staley in a melee of pure angst driven ambience. At times soul searing and soul destroying in the same moment, never has an album described the descent and rise from drug addiction in such poetic beauty. Essential for any lover of true musical genius.
on 25 July 2003
'Dirt' is the second album from Alice in Chains, and often regarded as their best.
The music is of excellent quality throughout, founding member Jerry Cantrell's guitar playing is often inspirational and the the rhythm section is also superb.
Best of all, however, are Layne Staley's beautiful and heartfelt vocals. Truly one of rock's greatest vocalists, his singing really sounds emotional and personal, unlike the false angst of the post-grunge wannabes.
The tone, both lyrically and musically, is moody and depressing throughout, generally dealing with the likes of death and drug abuse. Until, perhaps, the final song (and standout track) 'Would?'. Although the verses are still slow and brooding, to me, the chorus seems to suggest a sense of hope.
'Dirt' is a must have album, and one of the stand out moments of the grunge era. It is almost impossible to listen to it without fealing at all moved, particularly after Layne Stayley's tragic death.
on 12 February 2004
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.
`Dirt', the second album from Alice in Chains, firmly secured their place in the hearts of rock and grunge fans of the nineties. From that starting scream and riff in `Them Bones' you get a good feeling what this album has in store for you; that being low down dirty riffs from Cantrell, Layne's awesome vocals and some great song-writing.
This has some softer songs as well and `Down in a Hole' is a good ballad to slow things down towards the end of the album, but with AIC's own style and a lack of any of that sloppiness some rock group ballads can descend into.
This album shows the transition from `Facelift' to the sound the band would take with `Jar of Flies' (probably my favourite AIC album) and sits perfectly between them. It is atmospheric without becoming sombre and gritty enough to please existing rock/grunge fans. Well worth adding to your rock collection at some point.
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on 13 May 2002
When it comes to grunge (hey,i dont like the word either but to make matters easier) there are often complaints that Nirvana overshadowed bands like Soundgarden,or Pearl Jam.However,i feel Alice In Chains to be to most under-rated,over-looked band of our
This is their best work,and the very fact that i would put it up their with Nirvana`s best is high praise indeed.Layne had such amazing vocals,and the lyrics are truly haunting.It is a consistantly strong album,put simply u wont find yourself skipping every second song.
And finally,this album is now elavated to new levels with the tragic passing of Layne,with songs like "Down In A Hole","Sickman","Rain When I Die" and "Junkhead" that bring tears to my eyes.
on 13 April 2015
Dirt is a terrific album that builds on the heavy doom-drenched grunge style of Facelift and magnifies it to intense levels of heaviness. This album features some of Alice in Chains' most heavy and emotional work like the war anthem 'Rooster' and the gothic 'Angry Chair'. The combination of Layne Staley's tortured growling vocals with Jerry Cantrell's sludgy guitar playing really blends smoothly across every track. Like most people, iI consider this their finest album to date because of its powerful instrumentation and the emotional quality of the songs present.
I’m still reeling from the fact that I missed this stupendous album for so long. It’s one of those rare CDs that comes along once in a while where you get one classic after another. Grunge may be dead, but put this album on and you can resurrect it for the next 57 minutes.
I couldn’t possibly pick any stand out tracks, they’re all so good, but ones I like to repeat over and over again are “Dam That River”, “Junkhead” and “God Smack”. The first track, “Them Bones”, also seems very prophetic, given what happened to front man Layne Staley. “Gonna end up a big old pile of them bones,” he sings. And sadly, he did.
At their most average, the band sounds like Soundgarden. When they’re good, they bear a passing resemblance to Nirvana. And when Alice In Chains are at their best, they sound like nobody else but themselves. Jerry Cantrell is a more technically proficient guitarist than most grunge guitarists, and coupled with Staley, they come nearer than any other band to challenging Cobain to his Grunge King crown.