In 1990, Alice In Chains released their debut record Facelift. I heard the radio station play the song “Man In A Box” before the release of the album and I was instantly a fan. The song style and vocal work was something that had been missing on radio due to all of the Hair Metal ballads. Yes, this was before Metallica and Megadeth were played on the airwaves. The vocals sent chills down my spine. I was really amazed by the sound that would eventually lead into the Grunge movement.
Upon hearing the entire album, I was immediately taken by the vocal harmony of vocalist Layne Staley and co-vocalist and lead guitarist Jerry Contrell. The lyrics are based on death, drugs, pain and depression. The combination of lyrics and Staley’s vocals is a great mix. You can almost feel the depression and pain that Staley was singing about in such songs as “Sea of Sorrow”, “Bleed the Freak”, “Love Hate Love”, and “Real Thing.”
The music itself was darker, slower and at times aggressive. “Love Hate Love” and “Sea of Sorrow”, and “Bleed the Freak” come to mind. Then other points of the album, the music is more up beat like “We Die Young” and “Man in a Box.” The sound itself, contains metal influences, however, it’s classified as Grunge. Either way, this is a good record from start to finish. A record, that I have enjoyed for so many years to the point that my oldest son listens to it and considers the band among one of his favorites.