It's all right. There Comes A Time. Got ...

It's all right. There Comes A Time. Got No Patience To Search For Peace of Mind

Apr 09, 2023

I always thought Nirvana was my favourite grunge band. They still are, but recently I have been listening to a band that comes a close second. In case you haven't guessed by the title of this blog post, I will tell you; It's Alice in Chains.

There were always two songs I liked by the band. 'Man in a Box' and 'Them Bones'. These two tracks aside, I was sceptical and naive. Truthfully, I don't know what changed, but I decided to listen to them more frequently, and song by song, I became a huge fan of this somewhat underrated band.

My first stop on the Alice in Chains journey through their discography was their 1992 album, Dirt. Where better to start since it is included in the book 1001 Albums to hear before you die? It begins with the track mentioned above, Them Bones, so I knew the album started well, but what was the rest like? Listening to new music is always a risk. What if I don't like it, your inner monologue might say. Well, don't listen to that doubting voice. Listen and trust me instead.

Rooster is the song that made me truly pay attention. Written by their guitarist Jerry Cantrell about his father's time in Vietnam during the war, it is a powerful, angelic, raw depiction of the horrors of the War. This song is a great place to start if you need to become more familiar with the band because this is the song that hooked me and made me hungry for more.

Junkhead, also from the same album, is another of my favourites. Unsurprisingly, it is raw and grungy, just how I like my grunge. Its pace, heavy guitar sound, and painful voice by the lead singer Layne Staley connect with me. Jerry Cantrell, the guitarist and main songwriter, provided the backing vocals adding something nice to the chorus on this song, but many more notable backing vocal contributions throughout the band's songs.

Down In A Hole is a self-critical beauty of a song about being trapped in a world of drugs. Layne Staley sings with a voice that understands the lyrics and expels the pain of being an addict himself. His pain can be heard through this beautiful song. How can a grunge band produce such beauty? It's true; beauty is in the eye, or in this case, the ear of the beholder.

You might be thinking, but are Alice in Chains a one-trick pony with one good album? Absolutely not. Their next album, Jar of Flies, more like an EP, keeps the grunge beauty that can be heard in their earlier work. You have to check out two songs from this EP. I Stay Away and No Excuses. The whole EP is thirty minutes long, so if you are going shopping, to the gym or on your commute to or from work, give the whole thing a listen. If you don't have the time, I promise the two songs I suggested are worth your time.

Alice in Chains had one good album and one good EP, right? Nope. Their next album, with an eponymous title, was released in 1995 and has more gems. The album opens with Grind, a grungy song with a distorted vocal performance worthy of your time. But more significantly, it has the song Heaven Beside You. I can't say much about this beautiful song, but I recommend you listen.

We have established they are a good band with memorable grungy songs from the 1990s. If you need more Alice in Chains, they also did an MTV Unplugged album, with acoustic performances of some of their biggest songs. Sadly lead singer Layne Staley died in 2002 of an overdose. William DuVall eventually replaced him so the band could continue to tour and release new music. Duvall isn't a Staley rip-off, and he does a good job of keeping the Alice in Chains music and sound alive. The band released new music following DuVall joining the band, and one of their more recent songs to check out is Never Fade on the album Rainer Fog. It has everything you expect from an Alice in Chains song.

I hope I have convinced you to listen to this fantastic band. They need more attention and should be in the same conversation as other grunge bands from the time, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Nirvana.

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