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Jar of Flies

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(266 Reviews)

Metal Album Reviews[RSS]

  • Of the four major grunge bands, AIC usually gets the least amount of play, wich is a disgrace. Nirvana is seriously overrated, and AIC’s range can’t be matched by Soundgarden. When looking at Pearl Jam, its hard to find a weakness, but Alice In Chains is right next to them as the greatest band of the 90’s. Jar of Flies is my personal favorite album by AIC, although most would agrue “Dirt” is better. But what I love about this is that a hard rock, sometimes even borderline metal band completely stripped down their sound to produce a nearly all acoustic set of 7 songs that is simply amazing. The only knock against this cd, or technically EP, is that it is too short. When “Swing on This” ends I always find myself hungry for more, but the beauty of it is that I can listen to it again right then and there and not grow tired of it whatsoever. Although many have already done so, i’ll break down each song:

    1. Rotton Apple- A great way to start the cd. A pretty slow tempo here gives Layne an opportunity to shine as the listener is naturally drawn to his vocal delivery. Quite a long song but keeps your attention all the way through. 9.5/10

    2. Nutshell- A popular pick as the favorite AIC song of many fans. This is a very emotional track with a rambling guitar riff. Beautiful piece of music. Everyone can relate to these lyrics in one way or another. 10/10

    3. I Stay Away- My personal favorite, I am absolutely in love with this guitar work. It really reminds me of something Jimmy Page would write, and it doesn’t get much better than that. My favorite part is when Layne delivers the title “I stay away” in a controlled roar and the violins follow. Amazing song. 11/10

    4. No Excuses- The most recognizable track on the cd. The drums are awesome in this song, especially in the intro when they break in alone, allowing you to fully get the effect of its originality. A simple but great song. 10/10

    5. Whale and Wasp- Instrumental. The title really does seem to fit this music, as the moaning electric guitar truely resembles the sounds of a whale, with beatiful acoustic work in the background that picks up along with violins once the electric subsides. I wish this song was a little longer and the acoustic riff was explored a bit more, but Don’t Follow somewhat does that. 10/10

    6. Don’t Follow- Yet again a simply fantastic song. This guitar almost seems like a continuation of Whale and Wasps acoustic section. Probably the best lyrics on the album. the harmonica also fits in here perfectly. 10/10

    7. Swing On this- The awesome bassline drives this song, which works really well with the harmonized vocals. The most different of all the songs on the album, but still works well with the flow of the music. Bass driven songs are always cool to listen to for a change of pace. 9.5/10

    Posted on December 23, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • This is my personal favorite of all the Alice In Chains’ albums. Where their other masterpiece Dirt was bludgeoning heavyness to the extreme this album is almost the direct opposite(along with Sap), but a step in the right direction. Even their heaviest work was melodic, this ep is very experimental, I dont mean in the avant-garde sense, but Alice In Chains take chances and succeed admirably. Rotten Apple features vocoder and spacey guitar solos and effects, I Stay Away has a great lead melody and Layne’s voice combined with the string section is truly menacing, No Excuses is mostly acoustic but still rocks and is one of their best tracks(however every song here could be considered their best in my opinion), Whale And Wasp is a big surprise being an nearly progressive rock instrumental, Swing On This closes the record and is the biggest surprise, being a funky blues metal showcase with some slight jazzy touches. All in all this is a very diverse album, with elements of metal, punk, folk, jazz, classical, progressive, blues, funk, space, psychedelic, and even a little avant-garde and the fact that the album is only a half hour in length makes the diversity all the more remarkable.

    Posted on December 22, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • For me Alice in Chains was a great band to come out of the Seattle Grunge period, but they were not at the same level as Pearl Jam and Nirvana. This album has proved me wrong. I will probably go on to buy more of their albums now that I have heard this. This album has seven songs on it but all of them are great and I think anyone would enjoy just about every one of them. The songs here have alot of emotional content in them as one can tell just from hearing Layne Staley’s voice on “Nutshell.” This song is very powerful and just thick and deep. Then there’s “I Stay Away”, which is also very powerful. The addition of an orchestra on this one is an excellent touch. I was surprised when I first heard this album because there is nary a weak song on it. In fact, all of the songs are top quality in every aspect. I really liked the instrumental song “Whale and Whasp.” This song basically reminds me of something that Jimmy Page would do like “The Rain Song.” I can’t say enough about how good this album is. I am very thankful that I bought it. O yeah, if you listen carefully there is a story that is unfolded throughout the course of the album. It has something to do with an identity crisis and trying to find peace and redemption.

    Posted on December 22, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Despite being AIC’s shortest and softest album, and despite my opinion that “Dirt” is perhaps the most exemplary display of the band’s sound, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that “Jar of Flies” is the most perfect album they have ever done. Not only that, but I’ll also say, without a moment’s hesitation, that this is one of the most perfect albums ever made, by anyone. It was here that the band’s warm, emotional side really shone through like never before. The music is largely acoustic (with some electric here and there), and Layne really just sang his heart out.

    The album begins with “Rotten Apple”, one of the band’s most epic and beautiful pieces, with a mesmerizing guitar/bass melody, and those haunting AIC style vocal harmonies we all love. “Nutshell” and “Don’t Follow” are acoustic ballads of incomparable emotional power; “I Stay Away” is super-creepy, with perfectly executed string arrangements. “No Excuses” is the catchiest song, with a great chorus. “Whale and Wasp” is a short instrumental, which is very tranquil and somewhat elegiac, and again we have some nice strings. The album ends with a curve, with “Swing On This”. This song is sort of bizarre and jazzy, and makes for a fun ending to an otherwise dark and dreary listening experience. Despite the surprise it presents, it still fits in very well.

    You know something? This review is crap. I could sit here and talk about this album all day, and still not possibly give you an idea of how amazing it really is. You really just have to hear it for yourself. “Jar of Flies” is 30 minutes of pure brilliance, and no one should be without it. Just having it has greatly enriched my life, and I hope it can do the same for you.

    Posted on December 22, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • I’ve always liked this album. Other reviewers went into great detail describing the content, so I won’t go into specifics. All I’ll say is that this is one of the most beautifully haunting collections of music that I’ve ever heard. Since the death of Layne Staley, I’ve been listening to this cd even more often than I used to. It feels even more special now; it is truly AIC’s greatest gift to music, in my opinion. I can listen to these seven songs over and over and over, and they always lead to a more reflective state of mind and a trance-like feeling that’s unique to this album. It’s really difficult to put into words, but if you appreciate the uniqueness of this album even half as much as I do, you’ll never part with it.

    Posted on December 22, 2009 - Permalink - Buy Now