Alice In Chains Albums ranked article looks back at the albums released by one of the truly great rock bands of the 1990s. Alice In Chains have not released a large body of work. However, what they have released has been simply outstanding. There are really two separate tales of Alice In Chains. There is the Layne Staley era that saw the release of three studio albums and three EPs. And of course after Layne Staley passed away there was the comeback era that saw the release of another three studio albums with the addition of William DuVall in the band. Our Alice In Chains albums article takes a look at the six full length studio albums and three EPs, and picks our favorites in order in a most respectful way to one of our favorite bands of all time.
Alice In Chains Studio Albums
# 6 – Rainier Fog
We open up our Alice in Chains albums list with the band’s most recent studio album entitled Rainer Fog. Every Alice in Chains album smokes. Each one is great, so just because we’re starting out with this one doesn’t mean we think any less of it. This is a great record that we are absolutely thrilled to have Alice In Chains release such a great new album in 2018. Jerry Cantrell and William DuVall sound phenomenal on this album. Their voices have aged brilliantly. There is a lot of mileage behind these song lyrics and melodies from this band. Mileage that resulted in stunning new songs almost 30 years after the band released their first album. Standout tracks include the songs “The One You Know,” “Never Fade,” and the wonderful title track
# 5 – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here
Four years after Alice In Chains released their comeback album Black Gives Way to Blue the band came roaring back with another fantastic album entitled The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here. It would be the second album released with William Duvall on vocals and rhythm guitar along with Jerry Cantrell on lead vocals and guitars Sean Kinney on drums and Mike Inez on bass. The band sounds familiar on many of the tracks but the album is also defined by the band reaching out into some unfamiliar territory trying to make it interesting not just for their fans but for themselves.
# 4 – Black Gives Way to Blue
17 years after the band Alice In Chains released their masterpiece of an album entitled Dirt the group issued their fourth studio album entitled Black Gives Way To Blue in 2009. Many fans thought they would never hear another Alice in Chains album again. The Black Gives Way To Blue album was the first Alice In Chains record released without the band’s original singer Layne Staley. On the album the lead vocal duties were shared by Jerry Cantrell and new guitarist and singer William Duvall.
Black Gives Way To Blue focused on the band’s original sound that was both heavy and dark. That’s what fans wanted and that’s probably what just fell right with Jerry Cantrell, Mike Inez Shawn Kinney and William Duvall. One of the cool aspects of this record was the addition of Elton John playing piano on the title track “Black Gives Way To Blue.” Additionally Lisa Coleman former member of Prince and the Revolution band and Wendy and Lisa played vibes on the same track. It was great to have a new Alice in Chains album being released at the end of the 2000s. The band was back and it felt good.
# 3 – Facelift
At number three on our Alice in Chains albums ranked list is their debut album entitled Facelift. The album was released in 1990. The band had earlier released a single EP entitled We Die Young which featured three tracks. However Facelift was Alice in Chains first full-length studio album. The album cover features a distorted photo of bassist Mike Starr. It took a while for the first Alice in Chains album to start selling copies. The band knew they had a very special record on their hands and they were hoping it was just a matter of time. The Seattle scene had not really exploded yet. Facelift is one of the origin albums of grunge and it’s an amazing record. Eventually Facelift would actually become the first grunge album to break into the top 50 on the Billboard top 200. Once MTV started playing the video to “Man in the Box,” it all took off for the band.
The song “Man in the Box,” would become a top 20 hit on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock charts. The second single released entitled “Sea Of Sorrow,” would also become a top 40 hit peaking at number 27 on the US Billboard Mainstream Rock tracks. The album would wind up selling over 2 million copies. The first Alice in Chains album featured Layne Staley on lead vocals, Jerry Cantrell on guitar, Mike Starr on bass and Sean Kinney on drums.
# 2 – Alice in Chains
Moving on as we head towards the number one spot on our Alice in Chains albums list we present the band’s self-titled album Alice in Chains. This amazing record was released in November of 1995. There is also a sadness to this album as it was the last album to feature Alice in Chains original lead vocalist Layne Staley. Words almost can’t describe how great this record was and the power behind every song starting with the leadoff tune “Grind.” This continued into the song “Brush Away,” then Sludge Factory on to Heaven Beside You and then to Head Creeps and then boom! your hit with the awesome song “Again.” Three big-time hit singles smacked you in the face out of the first six songs on the CD all of them being nominated for Grammy Awards. Every rock and roll fan needs to have this astonishing Alice in Chains album in their collection. The Alice in Chains album hit number one on the Billboard 200 albums charts. It has sold over two million copies in the United States alone and a million more around the world.
# 1 – Dirt
We close out our Alice in Chains albums ranked list with the band’s masterpiece entitled Dirt. This was the band’s second full-length album release. The album featured Layne Staley on lead vocals, Jerry Cantrell on guitar, Mike Starr on bass who would be playing on his last Alice In Chains album and Sean Kinney on drums. Everyone has their favorite Alice In Chains album but we would bet heavy that most fans and critics believe the Alice in Chains Dirt album is their best one. Five smoking singles were released from the album. The first one being the song “Would?” The song was also released on the soundtrack to the 1992 film Singles. The song was written about the late Andrew Wood of Mother Love Bone.
The album’s second single stood also as the record’s opening track entitled “Them Bones.” Want to turn somebody on to the music of the early 90s all you have to do is play them the song “Them Bones.” Three more singles were released from the album including “Angry Chair,” “Rooster” and “Down In A Hole.” The five singles that were released from the record spanned a time period of over 14 months from June 30 of 1992 to August 30 of 1993. That’s how long this incredible album stayed on the charts. The Dirt album along with Nirvana’s Nevermind Pearl Jam’s 10 and Soundgarden’s Badmotorfinger are the defining albums of the grunge era.
Alice In Chains EPs
# 3 – We Die Young
We Die Young was Alice in Chains first EP. It was quite short filled with only three songs coming in together at a combined time of about 10 minutes. Still, it’s the first recording and it’s now a highly collectible item. Welcome to rock and roll Alice in Chains.
# 2 – Sap
SAP is the second of three amazing EPs by Alice In Chains. These recordings are so brilliant we had to include them on this Alice in Chains albums list. I get chills every time I listen to the opening song “Brother,” with Jerry Cantrell singing lead vocal and Ann Wilson of Heart actually singing backing vocals. Wow!
# 1 – Jar Of Flies
The Alice in Chains Jar of Flies EP stands as one of their most cherished releases. It’s almost a shame calling this an EP. There were seven songs on this record. Coming in at 30 minutes and 49 seconds it is only 15 seconds shorter than Van Halen’s Diver Down full length album. If it had been released in the 70s it would have been considered a full length album. However, in the era of 70 minute CDs it was declared an EP. What an EP it was! The EP was nominated for so many Grammy awards. The single “No Excuses,” hit number 1 on the US. Billboard mainstream Rock tracks and number 32 on the US Billboard Hot 100.
Alice In Chains Albums Ranked article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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