Sound — 9
Being an Alice in Chains fan can be quite difficult when you look at how the energy from the band seemed to degrade somewhat during the point the band released Tripod. For one reason or another, Jerry Cantrell released Boggy Depot; 12 new songs with that familiar Alice in Chains sound. However, Layne Staley is absent from the record and Jerry Cantrell has stepped up on lead vocals. Other sources have agreed that this is very much the "lost" Alice in Chains album as AIC drummer Sean Kinney is on all the tracks and AIC bassist Mike Inez is on a good few tracks. The sound of the record is very polished, yet very free. All guitar work is very layered, with interesting melodies interweaving here and there at certain points. Highlights of the album are most definitely "Dickeye" - a hard hitting, smooth, classic Jerry Cantrell song; "My Song," a catchy, melodic track with beautiful yet simple guitar riffs; "Settling Down," soft pianos and wonderful descending riffs create an amazing and relaxed piece with an interesting fretless bass undertone. Finally, "Keep the Light On" is definitely a perfect example of the freedom from the grunge underground that Jerry is exploring as a solo artist, a heavy, drop D song very reminiscent of Alice in Chains breaks down to a soft chorus which probably would not have been seen with AIC.
Lyrics — 8
It can be indefinitely argued that this album does not sound complete due to the absence of Layne Staley, but it must be considered that at the point of this album's creation (1997-1998), Staley was very very weak and his vocal power had declined. Jerry Cantrell does a fantastic job in stepping up to the vocal mic and letting rip. Though his voice is not as powerful as Staley's, clever harmonising and vocal suitability to Cantrell's softer songs make the album sound far more personal and can really convey that this was intended to be Jerry Cantrell's album, not Alice in Chains minus Staley. The lyrics again are very much on the level of most AIC songs, very personal and clever. However, this has been expanded even more as Cantrell has really explored his freedom within the album.
Overall Impression — 9
The album could almost be looked at as a personal journal for Jerry, documenting his musical development and freedom. As mentioned before, the most impressive songs for myself are most definitely: Dickeye, My Song, Settling Down, Keep the Light on, Satisfy, Hurt a Long Time. I love the whole album, all apart from the last track, Cold Piece which seems somewhat of a let down. It is interesting, but it's placement on the track seems unjustified, a track such as "Hurt a Long Time" would have been far more appropriate, something to give that "My word, that was a bloody good album" feeling. I totally recommend this album to any AIC fan, or a fan of AIC's softer tracks.