Every now and then, an album comes along that cements itself in music history for both all the right, and all the wrong, reasons. Albums which carry a deep, emotional resonance, albums which are spoken about in revered and serious tones, as though discussing the relics of some strange and wonderful time.
Alice In Chains were one of the bands birthed in Seattle, during the grunge era. They remain to be considered one of the darkest of that genre, and certainly of that city. And this is the city that gave us Nirvana! Down-tuned guitars, powerful and gloomy vocals mixed with creative writing and a strange catchiness have made them a long serving favourite of critics and fans alike, and The Dirt is considered to be one of their greatest albums – despite it being composed entirely of the tracks intended to ‘get the demons out’. As it was created, in 1992, AIC were touring extensively, whilst dealing with the original vocalist Layne Stayley’s severe substance abuse problem. The themes were that of addiction, isolation and depression and it came to form their signature – and incredibly distinctive – sound.
Why do you need this LP?
Hearing some of AIC’s darkest, deepest and most alluring tracks – Rooster, Them Bones and Down In A Hole on an audiophile-grade LP is probably the best way to really tear through every layer. This is an album that was recorded with raw emotion and passion, and to be truly heard, it needs to be heard in analogue. Widely believed to be their breakthrough album, Dirt carried Alice through a decade of rock herodom, and is still considered one of the best rock albums to emerge from the 90s. It overshadowed the untimely demise of Laney in 2002 – a decade later – and is still regarded as quite prophetic to his passing. Not for the faint of heart, or mind. But certainly one worth treasuring.