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!
I will start buy saying this is better than any of the other grunge bands top albums Pearl jams-ten, Soundgardens-superunkown, Nirvanas-in utero alot better. I have had this album about 6 months and it still has not lost its appeal. Alice in chains fans will probably agree this is there best. Its albums like this that have meaning there is not 1 filler track probably the least favourite is the instrumental but threre is a good story about it. It is a riiff Jerry Cantrell use to play to annoy the rest of the band and they made a deal if he could put it on the Dirt album he would never play it again so they put it on. The most amazing things about the album is Layne Stayleys singing the lyrics and the guitar work. Probably one of the greayest ever guitar songs can be found on here Them bones which is singing about when you die has a very good solo on it. Rooster is on here which in my opinion is the best song on the album and one of my personal favourities. The lyrics are amazing on it and Laynes voice is very emotional. There are some straight forward rockers like Dam that river which sings about a fight Jerry Cantrell had with Sean Kinney the drummer who is also there good on this album very technical. Would is on here which is a song about Andy Wood of mother love bone and Angry chair were Layne sings about his troubles with drugs. Songs like junkhead and dam that river should have easily made it to singles there is not one filler track on here. It is definetely worth the money and im sure in time it will become one of your personal favourites.
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. Essential.
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.