on May 10, 2002
I've always liked this album. Other reviewers went into great detail describing the content, so I won't go into specifics. All I'll say is that this is one of the most beautifully haunting collections of music that I've ever heard. Since the death of Layne Staley, I've been listening to this cd even more often than I used to. It feels even more special now; it is truly AIC's greatest gift to music, in my opinion. I can listen to these seven songs over and over and over, and they always lead to a more reflective state of mind and a trance-like feeling that's unique to this album. It's really difficult to put into words, but if you appreciate the uniqueness of this album even half as much as I do, you'll never part with it.
on January 29, 2006
Despite being AIC's shortest and softest album, and despite my opinion that "Dirt" is perhaps the most exemplary display of the band's sound, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say that "Jar of Flies" is the most perfect album they have ever done. Not only that, but I'll also say, without a moment's hesitation, that this is one of the most perfect albums ever made, by anyone. It was here that the band's warm, emotional side really shone through like never before. The music is largely acoustic (with some electric here and there), and Layne really just sang his heart out.
The album begins with "Rotten Apple", one of the band's most epic and beautiful pieces, with a mesmerizing guitar/bass melody, and those haunting AIC style vocal harmonies we all love. "Nutshell" and "Don't Follow" are acoustic ballads of incomparable emotional power; "I Stay Away" is super-creepy, with perfectly executed string arrangements. "No Excuses" is the catchiest song, with a great chorus. "Whale and Wasp" is a short instrumental, which is very tranquil and somewhat elegiac, and again we have some nice strings. The album ends with a curve, with "Swing On This". This song is sort of bizarre and jazzy, and makes for a fun ending to an otherwise dark and dreary listening experience. Despite the surprise it presents, it still fits in very well.
You know something? This review is crap. I could sit here and talk about this album all day, and still not possibly give you an idea of how amazing it really is. You really just have to hear it for yourself. "Jar of Flies" is 30 minutes of pure brilliance, and no one should be without it. Just having it has greatly enriched my life, and I hope it can do the same for you.
on May 19, 2001
For me Alice in Chains was a great band to come out of the Seattle Grunge period, but they were not at the same level as Pearl Jam and Nirvana. This album has proved me wrong. I will probably go on to buy more of their albums now that I have heard this. This album has seven songs on it but all of them are great and I think anyone would enjoy just about every one of them. The songs here have alot of emotional content in them as one can tell just from hearing Layne Staley's voice on "Nutshell." This song is very powerful and just thick and deep. Then there's "I Stay Away", which is also very powerful. The addition of an orchestra on this one is an excellent touch. I was surprised when I first heard this album because there is nary a weak song on it. In fact, all of the songs are top quality in every aspect. I really liked the instrumental song "Whale and Whasp." This song basically reminds me of something that Jimmy Page would do like "The Rain Song." I can't say enough about how good this album is. I am very thankful that I bought it. O yeah, if you listen carefully there is a story that is unfolded throughout the course of the album. It has something to do with an identity crisis and trying to find peace and redemption.
on January 7, 2015
The MusicOnVinyl import reissue brings this classic album and the bonus disc, "Sap," to our record players, with a resounding "win" for reissues (or the phony term "Historical Release" that the music industry has begun to use (and even reward Grammys) now that the reissue business counts for a high percentage of sales.
1994!-people. God, what a year for music. I was 15 and bought all of these classics of that year like "Jar..." and "Purple" by STP, "Four" by Blues Traveler, "CrazySexyCool" by TLC and many others, especially by groups like Alice In Chains. It was an EP that had an unexpected rocket-ride to #1 on the charts, created hit rock-pop masterpieces like 'No Excuses' and 'I Stay Away,' which had excellent music videos on MTV. (Yep folks Music Television DID play music at one point!)
Jar Of Flies is a complete 'tracker' meaning you can put this on and you will not need to skip a single song. There is melody, variety, brooding hard rock riffing, innovative strings etched in swirling slow rockers, beautifully structured harmonies and vocals by Lane Staley and band, and some of the funkiest and stick-dropping drumming by Sean Kinney.
The licensing and EU company MusicOnVinyl gives us this album in wax or LP form on this reissue. The sound is stunning.MOV is the vanguard and standard bearer of the new "vinyl" (hate that word) reissue groups. No flawed pressings, as is the case with a majority of the new 180g releases. The album is remastered flawlessly, with great attention to the original mix, which is actually better than the CD or digital versions. The Equalisiation is just wonderful. From low frequency bass notes to the highest treble and top end from the guitars and snare pops, the record sounds fresh and hits like Ali.
Add to that the other record that has been included in this package presentation, "SAP," which was not part of the original "Jar Of Flies" issue comes as a one sided disc with a fancy etching and label on one side, and the five tracks laid on the other side. That brings the total number of tunes in the MOV package to 13-which gives us more for our money than had the EP alone been issued. It's a winner. Try to get it for $37 or under as soon as you can-these releases go quickly. A must have for music fans, especially ones that love the 90's rock scene...ONTO "SAP....
These are solid "jams" that are energetic and have purpose and seem genuine works of collaboration. I like the rhythms and riffs from the guitar work It's much in the 'vein' of Jar of Flies with a foot stuck back in their previous album. The records' roster has elements of both sides of Alice- in Chains. These are fully formed songs, although they have the feel of high quality demos. The track with Chris Cornell, Mudhoney and Alice singing together is interesting. Some of the tunes actually are toe tapping. Lyrically, the songs are good, but not a high quality offering.
I received 'SAP' as a companion record to the MusicOnVinyl release of 'Jar Of Flies." The two albums, taken together make for an excellent listen. Sonically, the EQ is tight, with solid lows fro the drums and bass (which are played very skillfully) Jerry's rhythm guitar is captured and centered very well and gets a good boost in the mids of this EQ mix. His treble and lead parts, are sparse, so they can cut through at just the right times. The vocals have great dimension. Staley delivers the goods over an over. Wow, what lead singer! Try and get the MusicOnVinyl version of "Jar O Flies" which is just razor blade edge music delivered in a beautifully understated and extremely brilliant mode. It's the best Alice In Chains work. Enjoy...ZP
on May 9, 2003
Layne's gone now....and Alice in Chains either. I don't wanna believe it until now. But how about their music?
In the mid-90's, I had been long addicted to bonecrushing sound of some thrash bands until i heard this album. At that time, the whole world was in love with grunge sound and fashion and I liked Nirvana. But I hated listen to "weak" musics and my favorite was all thrash bands yet. And one rainy afternoon of September, I was passing by a record shop. I was a little blue and wanted to buy a brandnew album. Then I picked up this album(I'd heard of their name only until then). As I got in my room, I played it on my stereo and.... heard a bass riff coming out from it. It was like ten ton "sponge" hammer beating. I've played whole album again and again all day. Bass riff on Rotten Apple is so good for intro to this whole blue album. And Jerry Cantrell's guitar licks are all killers. Nutshell is a very sad song. I love to sing this along. String orchestrations on Stay Away are no oversense but very good choice in my opinion. Whale & Wasp showcases Jerry's amazing songwriting ability well. And Don't Follow is one of my favorite songs. It is so relaxing but sad song. Harmonica on it is great. All Songs are classic. Layne's soul-taking voice and Jerry's blue tone made this album far from forgetting. This is not just an leftover EP and is surely a page of history. These unbelievable genius' had made a immortal creature. On rainy days, I can't help picking this up like that one mid-90's day.
on December 27, 1999
This is my personal favorite of all the Alice In Chains' albums. Where their other masterpiece Dirt was bludgeoning heavyness to the extreme this album is almost the direct opposite(along with Sap), but a step in the right direction. Even their heaviest work was melodic, this ep is very experimental, I dont mean in the avant-garde sense, but Alice In Chains take chances and succeed admirably. Rotten Apple features vocoder and spacey guitar solos and effects, I Stay Away has a great lead melody and Layne's voice combined with the string section is truly menacing, No Excuses is mostly acoustic but still rocks and is one of their best tracks(however every song here could be considered their best in my opinion), Whale And Wasp is a big surprise being an nearly progressive rock instrumental, Swing On This closes the record and is the biggest surprise, being a funky blues metal showcase with some slight jazzy touches. All in all this is a very diverse album, with elements of metal, punk, folk, jazz, classical, progressive, blues, funk, space, psychedelic, and even a little avant-garde and the fact that the album is only a half hour in length makes the diversity all the more remarkable.
on May 3, 2007
What can I say about this album? Only that I have been listening to it on a consistent basis since practically the time it was released, and I enjoy it as much now as I did then. My musical tastes have changed much since 1994, but one thing remains constant: my love for this album, and indeed pretty much anything and everything done by this band. The strange thing is, it contains what is probably my least favorite Alice In Chains song ("Swing On This"), and yet I still consider it my favorite album by the band, and I still feel confident in giving it a perfect rating.
Yes, I still remember back in the day seeing for the first time the video for "I Stay Away" (you know, back when MTV was kinda-sorta good...compared to now anyway), and being completely entranced by what I was seeing and hearing. I barely knew the band back then, but somehow I felt that I had known them forever. It was everything I wanted and needed to see and hear. And so I discovered Jar of Flies. From the haunting opening bass line and ghostly vocal harmonies of "Rotten Apple," and the heart-wrenching melodies of "Nutshell" and "Don't Follow," to the catchy rhythm of "No Excuses," and the mystifying wailing of Jerry's guitar in "Whale and Wasp," I knew from the very first listen that this was something special...something that would be a part of me forever. There is so much passion at play on this album from all members of the band, and I feel that with Jar of Flies, they were really truly pouring their hearts out in a way they had never done before. Indeed, I feel that "Nutshell" is the defining song of Layne Staley's life, and every time I hear it, I shed a tear for him. It was the first song I heard, the very moment that Layne's death was announced that grim morning years ago, and that will always be the first thing I think of whenever the song graces my ears. I consider this album to be perfect. Perfect in that everything syncs together in such a genuinely meaningful way; perfect in its blend of acoustic and electric; perfect in that it displays the constant progression Alice In Chains had by releasing albums that each had a completely authentic sound that was never repeated.
I have never successfully compiled a satisfactory list of what I would call my "top ten albums of all time," but I know for sure that Jar of Flies would be on that list, and quite high at that, despite the fact that it is not a full-length album. Obviously, this album means a lot to me in a personal way, but all that aside, I feel that this is an absolute must-have in any serious music lover's collection.
on April 20, 2002
As I sit in my chair after hearing of Layne Staley's death with Nutshell on repeat, I come to find that this CD perfectly fit what Layne had become. The lyrics are beautiful and the music does nothing but paint a wonderful melodic picture for them. Layne Staley really made this band. Jerry wrote the songs, but Layne was the personification of everything Alice in Chains signified. And he's gone. It's like he knew everything that was going to happen to him. He knew he couldn't recover. Still, while listening to his music, I can't fathom him gone. Some people may say they are happy for him being finally healed through death of his horrible addiction, but I'm not. Everything about his death says why you should never do drugs. Layne died. He lost. This album shows what it was like in his short lived life. He had so much more to do. Drugs stole it from him. My heart goes out to Jerry and the band...family, friends and fans. He lives in music. Listen and learn.
on August 13, 2005
Alice In Chains - Jar of Flies (1994)
JAR OF FLIES! This one is mind-blowingly good and I still remember how my ears pricked up when I first heard this. They stepped into a softer realm on this mini-album and revealed a more melodic side to them that is quite stunning. There's actually some heavy rock passages to be heard here, their relative scarcity adding to their power. Top-tier guitarist Jerry Cantrell's playing is supple and sophisticated. On JAR OF FLIES, he completely steps out of the shadow of Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, although haters will point to a Sabbath song like "Laguna Sunrise" and start clucking. Just wink and smile, they can't blab forever.
on April 26, 2005
While some may argue that Alice in Chains other albums were more dense, layered, and overall just longer albums, few can argue the emotional power that this disc is able to achieve in less than half an hour. Layne Staley's hearteache and inner torment are so vividly and poeticly expressed that it is no wonder that this is one of the few ep's to ever be released that went on to sell over a million copies in its first week. However, sales have no say in this records true presence, which borders upon not only one of the best ep's ever released, but one of the best albums, period. Each song is utter bliss, incorporating acoustic guitars thanks to Jerry Cantrell, and the newfound talents and skills of bassist Mike Inez, along with the powerful and melodic drumming of longtime AIC drummer Sean Kinney. The beauty of each song carries from one to the next, starting with the heartfelt Rotten Apple, a tale of beginnings and endings, grief and sadness, but a glimmer of hope at the end of the tunnel. As Staleys vocals drift away at the end of the song we are taken into Nutshell, who some might remember as the song AIC opened up with when they played MTV Unplugged years ago after the release of Tripod. Understanding the torment and sadness of this misundertood man cannot be better described then by listening to this song; a true masterpiece that makes me fight back tears each time I hear it. Then come the radio hits I Stay Away, and No Excuses: some of the most mind bending tracks in AIC's catalog, and some of the most recognizable tracks off this amazingly well conceived album. Whale and Wasp is up next, and it is one of the bands few instrumental tracks, and a great way to have an intermission in the middle of the record. Finally, Don't Follow and Swing on This are next and are the final two songs on the album, swaying more towards Jerry Cantrell's style of music, deviating from what we might normally expect from the band, but amzing tracks nonetheless. Overall few albums can leave as deep of an impact as this one does, the songs stay with you long after the album is done playing, and the album warrants repeat back to back listening's as it is truly hard to listen to this album too much. Classic in every sense of the word, utter the name of this album to anyone who grew up in this age of music and they will say it is a timeless classic, that should be passed on for generations to come.