This is the definitive AIC album. The best grunge band, nearly in a tie with the mindblowing Pearl Jam, but certainly better than the great Nirvana.
"Facelift", AIC's debut album, was raw, tortured, and heartfelt. "Alice In Chains", AIC's final and best album was dark, grinding, creepy, had more refined guitarwork, and was just as suicidal as every other AIC album, only heavier.
"Dirt" was the turning point. Cleans up the sound of "Facelift", but doesn't quite employ as many muffling voice effects as "Alice In Chains". Jerry Cantrell's tortured, demonic lyrics fit perfectly with Layne Staley's also tortured vocals. Staley's sound is moody, depressed, hostile, heartfelt, demonic...quite simply one of the best voices to ever come out of a human being.
"Dirt" is full of metal riffs, but also softer riffs, much in the style of say...Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, and many other greats.
But, most importantly, "Dirt" is a dark passage through the depressed catacombs of both Cantrell's and Staley's inner mental workings. It contains many suicidal lyrics such as "I want to taste dirty stinging pistol in my mouth, on my tongue, I want you to scrape me off the walls," many deprived, challenged, and all around amazing lyrics. The music eases these into utter perfection.
This is an album to listen to if you're feeling depressed. When I am depressed, "Dirt" often gives me something to believe in, something to live for.
I love Alice In Chains.