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  • The early 90’s was a great time for music, no matter what type of music you were into; If you liked hip hop, you had Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube. If you liked R&B you had Mary J. Blige, Jodeci and R. Kelly. If you liked hard rock and metal, you have Metallica, Pantera, Faith No More,the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Megadeth and Anthrax to name a few, But they are all dwarfed by the beautiful new style of rock knows as “grunge”. And all of those bands had their own niche about them; Nirvana was about angst and alienation, Pearl Jam was the socially conscious ones, Stone Temple Pilots was the performance art band and Soundgarden was the beligerent version of Led Zeppelin. But of all of the prominent bands to come out of that era, nobody really harnessed their potental and abilities, in my opinion, than Alice In Chains. Many bands have taken on Black Sabbath’s dark undertone, but few have harnessed itand made it beliveable like AIC did. It all starts with Layne Staley(R.I.P), who’s vocals sould like a mixture of gospel wailing and gothic chants;he’s no Chris Cornell, but he’s certanly no amateur. But Mr. Staley’s voice would be a tree falling into the forest without the fabulous rhythm section he was blessed to team up with. Guitarist Jerry Cantrell takes from Kirk Hammett as he does Tommy Iommi; though he’s not as breathtaking as Kirk or innovative as say, Tom Morello or Dimebag Darrell, the lead parts are amazing. Staley and Cantrell are an intresting pair; no bands of recent memory have used harmony as they’ve used melody; you might call them the Lennon and McCartney of grunge. Bassist Mike Inez,always said, was the second best bass player of the 90’s , right behind Flea(Flea’s my boy!) and one over Jason Newsted(Metallica’s gonna miss him). Drummer Sean Kinney isalso great, though he’s no Chad Smith or Vinnie Paul. They balance each other out perfectly, which is evident on “Dirt”. It starts with the somewhat playful “Them Bones”, and takes a more serious tone with “Down In A Hole”(which could have well been a gospel or R&B song), “Rain When I Die”, “Junkhead”, “Damn That River” and “Sickman”. There’s “Rooster”, which is a recounting of Jerry Cantrell’s father’s tour of duty in Vietnam; it ranks with Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”, Guns N’Roses” Civil War” and Metallica’s “One” with songs dealing with that subject. “Angry Chair” and “Godsmack”(which created a second rate band of the same name, as you know) serve as the warmup for my favorite song…”Would”, which was on the soundtrack for the the movie “Singles”(mediocre movie,KILLER soundtrack) is one of my favorite songs of ANY musical genre; while Guns N’Roses “Welcome To The Jungle” is best album opener in recent rock history, “Would” is the best album closer. “Dirt” is the ultimate creative testament to a band at its peak, and that should still be making music today. Get up a big ol’ pile of them bones!

    Posted on December 3, 2009