Saturday, 4 May 2019

Alice In Chains "Facelift" (1990)

Recently Ive been on a timely nostalgic, heart aching Alice In Chains kick. It happens every now and then, I simply delve into a riotous binge that gets the adrenaline pumping. This time around I found myself rediscovering their debut record, it felt fresh and in the face, many of the songs seemed almost new and with some thought I realized its probably been over a decade since I last heard it. When discovering the band it was Dirt I was most drawn too and has thus established itself as one of the go to records alongside their post Layne Staley records. Facelift had been left neglected and what a gem its been, sitting here all these years unscathed, awaiting me again.

Its such a powerful debut from a new band helping to spearhead the Grunge movement. From the get go Alice In Chains have the Heavy Metal infusion integrated within their sound. Paired with the harmonization between Staley and guitarist Jerry Cantrell, its a two pronged attack, making a unique breed of rock and roll thunder, fit to move a crowd and also display a genuine emotional side too. The band have a habit of brooding an internal vulnerability and then unleashing it through swooning guitar grooves along with the haunting soar of Staleys notes or even eerie acoustic guitars that build painful tensions and uneasy atmospheres between the soars of energy.

For a debut record, not an inch sounds frail or as if they are finding a footing. The Seattle group fly out the gates with a frightening authenticity. The twelve songs give up a healthy variety and range within the sound. Slams of crunching guitar grooves, scores of erupting, electric solos and all temperaments of established Rock and Metal influence the grunge tone. There is a magnitude in the other direction too as a dynamic mix of darkly acoustics shape up the energetic rock with deeper meanings.
Love Hate Love and Confusion explore this shadowy side wonderfully, the loose drumming styles perfectly emphasizing the disjointed and exposed feelings these tracks start off with. Put You Down and I Know Something expose the Southern and Funk Rock styling among many other influences that detail Cantrell's unique riffing. In that aspect its a little rawer on this record but it is still fantastic how despite hearing their roots, one can experience something completely new blossoming from it. Utterly brilliant album, another 90s relic to behold! I love this decade.

Favorite Tracks: We Die Young, Man In The Box, Bleed The Freak, Love Hate Love, Confusion, Real Thing
Rating: 9/10