Above review by Mad Season

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  • Released: Mar 13, 1995
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 8.8 (51 votes)
Mad Season: Above
4

Sound — 10
Most people know Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam, and Screaming Trees to be overall heavy bands. They were founding fathers of the grunge/alternative era, and came to be known as artists of their own styles and sounds that changed a generation of music. You would wonder what would happen if certain members of the band came together to form a 'supergroup' band - probably what kind of music they would make and what style they would emit. Well, Mad Season is your answer. From what I could tell, Mad Season's first and sadly last album sounds somewhat jazzy, with bits of grunge-esque sounds and unique polishings to the songs that take you away from the average sounds of AIC and Pearl Jam's signature works (referring mostly to 'Dirt' and 'Vs.') and bring you to a place on the edge of Layne Staley's mind, in a calmer yet eerily clear atmosphere showing his slowly decaying self, through fully aware eyes (listen to 'Wake Up'). In short, he knew his drug addiction was going to kill him, and made his painful struggles be heard so strongly on this album.

Lyrics — 10
The focus of this album is as I said - of Layne Staley's pains, thoughts, and struggles in a world so cruel to his own. His lyrics are some of the strongest, and so emotionally aware that they are haunting. Layne Staley can look inside himself and pull out the supernatural of his abilities and turn them into works of art, making his emotions as one with the music, in a sense of purity. All in all, his lyrics fit right in with the music and give you a sonic blast of rightousness, the way only Layne could deliver. Also, he's one of the greatest singers in rock history.

Overall Impression — 10
This is not an album most AIC fans would expect (I am also a big fan) but it does justice for what Layne was trying to get across. Alice In Chains was never about heaviness, as you can see from Jar of Flies and other sources. If you look at what music really is, you might consider this album as something not out of the ordinary, but something totally expected. This album will make any rock fan's collection complete. It's an undeniable work of art and one of Layne's greatest accomplishments. So give it a listen, it might have to grow on a die hard AIC fan, but you won't be disappointed. My favorite tracks are 'Wake Up', 'Long Gone Day', and 'River Of Deceit'. If this were stolen I'd smack the foo that took it so hard he'd look like Justin Hawkins (just kidding). But yeah I'd definitely go out and get it again without any hesitation.

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    GrungeBeatle
    Just a note on Saunders, he was in a Seattle band called The Walkabouts who never really made it huge.
    Strat_Monkey
    Yeah, this album kicks arse. No specific mention here of who was actually in the band, other than Layne, so here you are: Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), Guitars; Barret Martin (Screaming Trees), Drums & add. percussion, John Baker Saunders (the only member who was not also in a Seattle grunge band), Bass, and a couple of guest spots from Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees/solo artist) on vocals. Plus some other dude on sax on a couple of tracks. There you go.
    gemainchains
    well i have to say...bought this a few days ago...and it has automatically jumped to my fav. album... layne's lyrics and voice as always, amazing... man..we lost a great musician.. rip Layne
    soundgardner
    this is a great album, there's no arguing that. mccready is always amazing and layne's lyrics are the best i've heard from him. i love the artwork in the liner too; layne's drawings are awesome. it is different than what i expected but it is still awesome. it isn't better than temple of the dog though.