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The Essential Alice In Chains Review

by Jeff K

Alice in Chains was easily one of the best, if not THE best band to come out of the now somewhat-infamous "grunge" movement of the 1990's. When it seemed that everyone was riding the wave of Seattle-based dirt-rock, AIC established themselves as more of a metal band (even though they never really were), in addition to making a name for themselves before the likes of Pearl Jam and "Smells Like Teen Spirit" were the words uttered on everyone's lips.

Enclosed within are 2 discs of comprehensive material, covering every release the band put out, in addition to featuring songs from the band's famous "MTV Unplugged" performance, and even a few remixes.

It's hard to pinpoint a real highlight of either cd, as it would be somewhat contingent on what one's favorite album or time period would be. At first glance, it seems that disc one is the stronger of the two, simply because of the inclusion of many "Facelift" and "Dirt" songs. Obvious strong points, both back during their original release as well as now, would have to include, "Love, Hate, Love", "Rain When I Die", "Them Bones", and "Rooster". Disc Two continues with songs from the band's "Sap EP", as well as the aforementioned "Unplugged" tracks. "Nutshell" has to be, hands down, one of the best songs the band ever recorded, and it is obvious through Layne Staley's haunting vocals, that the song was written from a very real place that was all too familiar for him.

This is the consummate collection of songs from a band that stood above the rest during their all too short career. While their later work lacked some of the grit and rawness of their earlier work, the band had a great career making songs that were real and spoke of human frailty and, in many instances, were all too honest regarding the struggles of addiction that haunted Staley's personal life before he passed. This is a must have for any real AIC fan.

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The Essential Alice In Chains

Label:Columbia Records

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