Released: Jul 1996
Drudgy, bleak and at times grim, this album is ultimately revealing, as if the slowed-down tempos allowed listeners to accurately see what lay beyond the blur of drugs, depression beanies and dank hair. There's a winsome quality and a rare innocence in Layne Staley's lyrics and Jerry Cantrell's almost country picking on a song like "Brother," and a sad elegance and foreshadow in many of the songs, especially "No Excuses" and "Rooster." "Sludge Factory" is a wounded animal of a song, and you can see the footprints of Staley's brooding aesthetic in a generation of singers that came after him.
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