Sound — 10
When I first heard it, I thought it was, except for a few songs, very odd sounding. It took a while to completely grow on me, now I believe it to be one of the best albums to ever exist. This album basically has two sides to it; The morbid side, written mostly by Cantrell, and the painful side, by Staley. The album has a bigger focus on the painful side, but I'll save that more for the lyrics section. The album starts perfectly, with an intimidating yell, with a powerful, chromatically ascending guitar riff in a strange timing, and continues throughout the first two tracks. The third and fourth track are a bit more on the mellow side. Sickman, listening to it is hard to really grasp it, and it is uncomfortable to listen to; this is one of the songs that takes time to really appreciate. Rooster is another softer one, and considered by some to be the "greatest grunge song ever written" it arguably is. The rest of the album is dissonant, odd chords, strange vocal techniques, but overall, it is amazing. This is definately the most grunge sounding album.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics of this album can be divided into two; Staley's painful side, and Cantrell's morbid side. I'm not a lyricist, so it won't be perfect. Staley's side deals mainly with drugs, and how it affects you negative, through the words of someone who is trapped by them. In the album, throughout, he explains how painful it is, how people look down on him, plus a small family history in some songs. As singers, Cantrell, being the "secondary singer" he has a great voice, he can back up Staley's voice very well, as well as having a good voice on his own. Layne Staley is definate one of the best and most unique singers I have ever heard. His voice is a haunting howl of emotion, and impact. Many times, his voice is even intimidating, as he wails about his pain he goes through.
Overall Impression — 10
One amazing album, do not ignore it. It has impacted many people, and even made many quit drugs, and go clean. All songs are great, all are considerably different, so it's hard to compare, that's more oppinionated. The only bad bout this album; if you listen to it once, you may not like it, so force yourself to listen to it a few times, it will grow on you, like you can't believe. I am completely attached to this album, and highly recomend it.