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Mad Season features the legendary Layne Staley of Alice in Chains on vocals, Mike McCready of Pearl Jam on lead guitar, Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin and bassist John Baker Saunders of the Lamont Cranston Band. The band recorded and released one album, Above, in 1995 which was certified Gold and became an essential touchstone in the history of Seattle rock. Above is the only complete album of Layne Staley's introspective and mystical lyrics, which were highlighted by additional vocals from Screaming Trees vocalist Mark Lanegan.
Above (Deluxe Edition) is a three-disc set comprised of two CDs and one DVD plus a full-color collector's booklet with previously unseen performance photographs and an essay by Barrett Martin reflecting on the lives of Staley and Saunders and the history of the band.
CD 1 features the original album + an unreleased acoustic instrumental titled "Interlude," 3 new songs from the band's unfinished second album with newly recorded vocals and lyrics by Mark Lanegan and a remixed version of the band's John Lennon cover "I Don't Wanna Be A Soldier."
CD 2 features the full audio set from the bands historical performance at the Moore Theater in Seattle on April 29, 1995, remastered in stereo sound.
The DVD features the first official DVD release of Live at The Moore - Mad Season's last show ever performed. Not only has Live at The Moore been remixed and remastered, but newly edited by director Duncan Sharp for a beautiful new documentary-like presentation, giving the show an updated look as if the viewer were in room that night. Also included are four performances that have never been seen, including the fan-favorite "Wake Up."
Also featured is a full concert of the bands performance from New Years Eve 1995 at RKCNDY in Seattle (which was shot by the band's crew for an up close and intimate look at the band) and both performances from Self-Pollution Radio, one newly edited.
Disc 3 (DVD)
1. Lifeless Dead (Live at The Moore)
2. River Of Deceit (Live at The Moore)
3. Long Gone Day (Live at The Moore)
4. I Don't Know Anything (Live at The Moore)
5. X-Ray Mind (Live at The Moore)
6. All Alone (Live at The Moore)
7. November Hotel (Live at The Moore)
8. Wake Up (Unseen Footage from The Moore)
9. Artificial Red (Unseen Footage from The Moore)
10. I Don't Wanna Be A Soldier (Unseen Footage from The Moore)
11. I'm Above (Unseen Footage from The Moore)
12. Wake Up (Live at The RCKNDY -NYE Show 1995)
13. Lifeless Dead (Live at The RCKNDY -NYE Show 1995)
14. River Of Deceit (Live at The RCKNDY -NYE Show 1995)
15. I Don't Know Anything (Live at The RCKNDY -NYE Show 1995)
16. I'm Above (Live at The RCKNDY -NYE Show 1995)
17. Artificial Red (Live at The RCKNDY -NYE Show 1995)
18. I Don't Wanna Be A Soldier (Live at The RCKNDY -NYE Show 1995)
19. All Alone (Live at The RCKNDY -NYE Show 1995)
20. November Hotel (Live at The RCKNDY -NYE Show 1995)
21. Lifeless Dead (Self Pollution Radio Broadcast)
22. I Don't Know Anything (Self Pollution Radio Broadcast (new edit))
23. River Of Deceit (Music Video)
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The thing is that it lacks some of the "polish" of certain studio recordings but those little nuances make this more of a boutique album from the late great "Nineties Seattle Sludge" that was grunge.
River of Decepit tells a tale for what I am sure is a page torn right from the book of Layne Staley's short and ultimately tragic life. He was a fantastic singer and songwriter. He knew just how to captivate his audience. His lyrics were like "Junkie Poetry" Don't get me wrong, I don't condone the lifestyle or the self destructiveness that usually accompanies being a junkie and their lives are far from poetic but he seemed to almost be telling cautionary tales of woe because he was living it right then and there.
This album, for Layne, is a somewhat softer side and tonealy different from his Alice In Chains offerings. Let's not forget that Mike McCready (of Pearl Jam fame)Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees)and John Baker Saunders (The Walkabouts) were the other major driving forces behind this album. That's quite a pedigree to have on one album. I guess I always loved the comradery that the Seattle bands seemed to have with one another and they all seemed happy for their contemporaries successes.
The first 5 songs are in my opinion the best. Only 5 you say, well think of it like this, how many musicians would kill for 5 hit songs on one album? I tell you how many . . . All of them.
Wake up - The sting of a love affair gone sour, X-ray Mind - The slow burn of distrust, River of Decepit - I believe it is self decepit, I'm Above - a great punk vibe, Artificial Red - a Slow blues fueled A** Kicker
You'll likely never hear much music like this again and sadly two of the four men here are dead, due to heavy drug use and the overdoses that accompanied both of their last trips. R. I. P. Layne and J.B. and if you liked ninties grunge, here you go, in a very pure form from 4 vastly different influences "Mad Season" ABOVE.