Sound — 10
Dirt mixes the anger and despair of grunge, menacingly heavy riffs, weird yet excellent harmonies and haunting melodies. Opening with the hard-hitting riffing of Them Bones, the album goes through moods, from the odd time signature of Dam That River, to the slow and sad "Rain When I Die", melancholic and deadly "Rooster", and haunting closers "Angry Chair" and "Would?" Jerry And Layne certainly had an amazing partnership, keeping the music heavy, but with a groove and melody that many would kill for. This is however not to say that other band members weren't a part of what made this album. Mike Starr's bass lines and (sorry, no disrespect to the drummer and AIC fans) but I can't remember his name) the drumming on the record are the second driving power behind the record. Both are imaginative, yet none get in the way of the song. As Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin fame said in an interview, "it was four elements combining to create the intangible magic fifth element".
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics, while mostly mining the drug addiction territory, also include a song about guitarist's Jerry Cantrell's father, who was a Vietnam Veteran ("Rooster"). Layne portrays the addiction to the drug from every possible side.. THere are a lot of songs about addiction, but it is how deep the lyrics go, how imaginative and diverse they are are what makes this album sting the listener. Layne had a great voice and amazing, supernatural songwriting abilities. From a personal perspective, every time I listen to the record, I get the chills along the spine, because of Layne's lyrics. In Alice In Chains, lyrics and music went together hand in hand, there was no one without the other.
Overall Impression — 10
I'll admit, I'm relatively new to Alice In Chains, I only got to know their music at the start of 2004, when our singer introduced me to them... But from then on, I was truly hooked, and no cd of theirs has left my player for more than a week. That said, some songs aren't really my cup of tea, but the other 11 make up for any shortcomings, and even the songs that aren't my favourites have the parts that I like. But that's more of a personal taste. This album is very well made, in terms of production as well as songwriting and performance. As been said before, Layne and Jerry carry across so much emotion that there is no way you can go past it. In the end, all four members of this awesome band gelled together so well, that their music will always remain as one of the gems of Seattle and music of all time.