Alice In Chains – Dirt

I remember the first time I got this album. We were at the mall, and my Dad had asked me what I wanted for Christmas that year (1992), and I said this CD. His eyes glazed over, and I could see his mind working through the option of going into a record store (an alien land, for him) and trying to search out this album. Instead, he reached into his pocket, pulled out $20 and said “here, go get it yourself!” When I came back with it, he held it at arm’s length like it was going to bite him, handed it back and said “Good thing you did that, I’d still be in there…”

I loved this album, right from first spin. I hadn’t owned Facelift before it, though I’d heard the songs from it at a buddy’s place. So this was the first AiC in my own collection. Of course, years later, I ditched the album for money to cover a cross-country move, but I replaced it when I was able, because I definitely missed it.

What a brilliant record. You probably know all about it already, so I won’t need to belabour each song. And you’ll know that sound, so unlike anything else that was going on… sure, it was bluesy metal like grunge, but there was something in the way they approached their sound, with Staley’s vocals over top, that made them stand out from their peers.

Sadly, several members of the band were wrestling drug addiction at the time of recording, not to mention suffering depression and other things as well. The whole thing added up to a sludgy album that could only have happened in that time, under those circumstances, and by those players.

Interestingly, the 0:44 track, labelled by my iTunes as Intro (Dream Sequence) is, according to Wiki, a riff Cantrell used to play to annoy his band mates, so he threw that, a nod to Sabbath’s Iron Man and then Tom Araya’s vocals to Layne’s and called it Iron Gland. I definitely prefer his title.

Here’s all you need to know:

Them Bones / Dam That River / Rain When I Die / Down In A Hole / Sickman / Rooster / Junkhead / Dirt / Godsmack / Iron Gland / Hate To Feel / Angry Chair / Would?

This is a classic record. So good!


Posted on November 24, 2014, in posts by aaron and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. This album really is some kind of high water mark, for “grunge” in general I think. I think Dirt was the pinnacle of all that was “grunge”, I really do. When I think of “grunge”, this is the kind of music I picture most. Not Pearl Jam or Soundgarden. Those guys sounded like rock bands to me. Nirvana sounded like a punk band to me. But Chains? GRUNGE. That’s the word! Sludgy, doomy, depressed, and musically just completely fucked. There are some very fucky sounding songs on this album. It’s like the progressive rock version of grunge.

    I don’t think I made any sense there.

    Good mention about the drug addiction issues. Fully 1/2 of this band is no longer around.


  2. I think Down In The Hole is a well wicked piece of composed music! So catchy and even this Ol Rock dog loved it in the grunge era!


    • Attaboy Deke! Yeah that’s a killer track. The version on the Unplugged (see post I just slapped up there now) is also great.

      I’d wager if you spun this record now, you’d love the whole thing. Mike and I were talking about how this record goes beyond the grunge label. It’s its own beast. Just great sludgy metal. \m/ \m/


  3. I agree with Mike on this as the “Grunge” pinnacle. Although too me its just a Metal album. They’re the only band associated with Grunge that I ever got into (unless you count Motley Crue with John Corabi!)


  4. I still listen to this regularly. Stellar album. Was actually close to picking up the vinyl reissue recently. Only the colour saturation on the cover put me off. Shoulda just bought it.


  5. Nice review! This is definitely my favourite AIC record, although honestly The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here ain’t far off. But yeah, Dirt’s an awesome one. As classic grunge albums go I prefer it to Nevermind and Badmotorfinger, so it’s one of the very best.


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