Thursday, September 24, 2015

Throwback Track of the Week: Alice in Chains - Them Bones

Alice in Chains 1992 sophomore album Dirt is an absolute classic, although not exactly an easy listen.  A de-facto concept album, much of the lyrics reflect vocalist Layne Staley’s desperate struggle with heroin addiction; as the music carries the themes of anguish, self-disgust, and volatile helplessness.  

Opening the album is quintessential track Them Bones, which delivers an immediate gut-punch via a primal, sickening howl straight from the depths of Staley’s tortured psyche.  Over pummeling power chords, Staley drones and drawls his way through his acceptance of his own mortality and the futility of life, culminating in the massive two-line chorus: “I feel so alone/gonna end up a big ol’ pile of them bones”.  Barely fitting into the 2:30 runtime is one of guitarist Jerry Cantrell’s best solos; effect-laden and soaring over the murk. 

Layne Staley’s story is one of the most tragic in rock and roll history, but like a cornered animal he was able to translate his darkest moments into pure artistic aggression; and as a result gave us some of the most emotionally genuine metal music ever recorded.  

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