Not every great album is really meant to be a walk in the park. It takes a small miracle to even put an album out in the first place, as you try your best to comb through your own back pages to find something that you’ve never heard before. It might seem borderline impossible at times, so you can imagine how bad it gets when the odds are already stacked against you.
Before these guys even touched the recording console to lay down songs, they were already up to their necks with pressure, either through labels wanting to hear something specific or their personal lives spinning out of control.
Since most of these also come from the golden age of rock and roll, drugs do end up playing a role in getting these artists through most of the time, and a lot of these ended up backfiring as well, leading to some dark days in the studio where either no work was getting done or the band members would lash out at each other trying to make their own masterpiece. They stuck by each other though, and each of these records managed to hold up as a sturdy piece in the band’s catalog, if not outright classics of their respective genre. They may have gotten to the end of the process in one piece, but it’s albums like these that give new meaning to the phrase ‘suffering for your art.’
10. Alice In Chains- Alice In Chains
It's practically a miracle that Alice in Chains even survived long enough to make album number three. In between cleansing their souls of their demons on Dirt, it was becoming more clear that Layne Staley was losing his battle with heroin, and the acoustic EP Jar of Flies was only further proof of how much he lost his way. So what we get on the self titled Alice in Chains project is more along the lines of the band being held together with string and duct tape.
While the songwriting is still on par with Facelift on tracks like Grind and Heaven Beside You, there's a much more melancholy feel coated through the rest of this record, with Layne's voice practically looming like a ghost over most of the songs. Even though you can hear his classic growl on songs like Again and Head Creeps, he's done too much damage to his body to reach those screams that he got to on Rain When I Die, being replaced with more Sabbath sounding songs like Sludge Factory and Nothin Song, with Jerry Cantrell doing most of the heavy lifting.
There's definitely the seeds of a great Alice project hidden in here somewhere, but it's hard to listen back to them when you realize how much the band had lost their way. Considering how much Layne was absent during most of these sessions, this might as well be a Jerry Cantrell solo record featuring the members of Alice as backing musicians.