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The Essential Alice In Chains Limited Edition, Original recording remastered

4.5 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Combining heavy riffs and delicate acoustic sounds, Alice In Chains forged a unique sound that put them at the forefront of Seattle's early-'90s grunge bands. Their albums, Facelift,Dirt, Jar Of Flies, as well as the 1995 self-titled album were widely received by an MTV audience. This 2-CD set coincides with new tour dates for the band.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (September 5, 2006)
  • Limited Edition edition
  • Original Release Date: September 5, 2006
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Limited Edition, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Sony Legacy
  • Run Time: 130 minutes
  • ASIN: B0001LYH7U
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,485 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
There are already two Alice In Chains compilations out there, and they have all of the most popular songs, but they kind of miss the most interesting thing about Alice In Chains. This band is usually classified as either grunge or metal, which is a perfectly accurate label if you only listen to their three studio albums. But they also released two short EPs that showed a much quieter and more contemplative side of their sound. These EPs contain moody, bluesy songs performed on acoustic guitars. I guess it's not really that big of a departure (didn't metal start out as just a really loud variation on the blues?) but it's also quite different from what their less subtle contemporaries were doing.

The thing is, singer Layne Staley's voice was perfectly suited to low-key introspective songs. He could yell better than most others, too, but on the softer numbers, he could sing in a very haunting, sombre drawl that many later singers have tried and failed to imitate. And that gave depth to Alice In Chains. Somehow they always seemed more serious than the other grunge bands.

The ideal Alice In Chains compilation should show that side together with the loud, rockin' singles. This compilation tries to do that, but misses the two most important songs. It contains almost all of the band's most popular album Dirt, except, inexplicably, the one softer song "Down In A Hole," which perfectly encapsulates this thoughtful side of the band and contrasts well with the loud and angry songs on the album. Then, the compilation touches on the band's second EP Jar Of Flies, but doesn't include the opening song "Rotten Apple," which has a beautiful opening build-up and a moving, world-weary vocal by Staley.
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Format: Audio CD
THE BAND: Layne Staley (vocals, guitar), Jerry Cantrell (guitar, vocals), Mike Inez (bass), Sean Kinney (drums & percussion).

THE DISC(S): (2006) 28 tracks on 2-discs clocking in at approximately 130 total minutes (disc-1 at 73:56 minutes, disc-2 at 55:54). Included with the discs is a 6-page foldout containing song titles/times/credits, a brief 3-page intro, band photos, and what songs came from which albums and the year released. This compilation follows the band from 1990-99. Label - Sony/Columbia.

ALBUM REPRESENTATION: Facelift (4 songs), Dirt (9), Sap (4), Jar Of Flies (2), Alice In Chains (3), Unplugged (2), Music Bank (2), "Last Action Hero" soundtrack (2).

COMMENTS: Alice In Chains (AIC) was one of my favorite bands from the 1990's. Exciting and unique, dark and brooding - extraordinary and matchless vocals, crunchy electric guitars, captivating acoustic guitars, solid bass work, effortless drumming. And perhaps most importantly - great melodies with a wide range - alternative, hard rock, grunge, metal, and even lite-rock as "Jar Of Flies" would teach us. There are several AIC 'best of' compilations out there... "Nothing Safe: The Best Of The Box" (1999), "Greatest Hits" (2001), the extensive 4-disc "Music Bank" (1999), and this "Essential". All are good, however there's a lot of repetition in the song selections. AIC had 3 full length studio albums and 3 shorter EP's... and having 4 compilations doesn't make sense to a lot of fans. For me, the "Music Bank" is good, but it's filled with too many demos, remixes and live songs. The single disc collections are great, but not nearly long enough. That brings us to this 2-disc "Essential" set. For the money, it's the best mix on the market as of 2006.
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Format: Audio CD
Alice In Chains was a pinnacle Seattle band, and they were part of the Seattle movement that was so prevalent in the 90s, and they carved a niche for themselves in the music world. They had tasted the triumphs of success and they also tasted the bitter pills of defeat (the death of singer Layne Staley was the worst of it all). Many compilations have come to fruition out of the Alice In Chains catalog. MUSIC BANK was the best of the bunch because not only did you get a helping of 3 CDs compiling hits, rarities, and remixes, it included a cd-rom and a comprehensive booklet inside detailing the history of the band itself. Before that was NOTHING SAFE: The Best of The Box, and although it had it's share of the hits, it was merely a sampler and a very small portion of what could have been a huge meal. Then Sony Special products released the pointless 10-track collection GREATEST HITS, which was a complete dud because tons of great songs were left off at the expense of giving the consumer something cheaply manufactured and made. But now, we've got another compilation from Sony entitled THE ESSENTIAL Alice In Chains. Now another question comes to mind here: is this compilation any better? Well, the answer is mostly yes, with a nay for a major single and a few minor hits that were left off this compilation.

The thing this compilation does nicely that MUSIC BANK also did was compile the songs in chronological order. Here's how it runs down on each of the compilations hearty two discs.

On disc 1 you get the pummeling "We Die Young", the classic "Man In The Box", the underrated epic feel of "Sea of Sorrow", and the unadulterated pleasure of the chilling "Love, Hate, Love" from FACELIFT.
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