Posts Tagged ‘layne staley’

2003-year-of-the-spiderThere was once a time in the world when Nu Metal was a genre that was ruling the airways and video play on MTV with bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit competing with the likes of The Backstreet Boys and Nsync. Some say that it was a glorious time to be alive while others are very troubled by it’s mere existence. For me, it was a time when I was discovering my love of the metal sub-genres all over again after a brief falling out period. At one point, Flip/Interscope thought it wise to hire Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit as an A&R man and his signings were hitting it big in the industry like Puddle Of Mudd, Staind, and today’s band of focus in Jacksonville, Florida rock act Cold. Cold was made up of Scooter Ward (Vocals), Terry Balsamo (Guitar), Kelly Hayes (Guitar), Jeremy Marshall (Bass), Howard Benson (Piano/Keys/Produced The Album), and Sam McCandless (Drums). Together in 2003, the band would release their most commercially successful album of their careers in Year Of The Spider which peaked at number three on the Billboard Top 200 charts even featuring a top Hot 100 track as well.

cold1.Remedy– A real driving riff starts off the song before this amazing bass riff takes over the verses before the band comes back in. The song seems to be about someone with issues who pushes people away and know this, but doesn’t anyone to really change it. 5/5

2. Suffocate– A clean channel guitar drives the song for the most part before the chorus. The song is about a relationship that is just toxic. The song features former Dollshead/Black Eyed Peas singer Sierra Swan and Sam McCandless’s drum laying is awesome on this track. 5/5

3. Cure My Tragedy (A Letter to God)– a touching track that Scooter wrote about the struggles his sister went through with her battle against Cancer while the band was recording the album. 4.5/5

4. Stupid Girl– This was the band’s lead single and the only single they ever wrote that cracked the Billboard top 100 that was co-written by Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo. 5/5

5. Don’t Belong– A bass driven track until the band comes in for the chorus about feeling like you just don’t belong or you can’t do anything right. 4/5

6. Wasted Years– a cool track with violins in the beginning and some acoustic guitars that compliment them. It is said that Scooter described the track as, “this song is basically about how I let little things take away the things I needed in life.” 4/5

7. Whatever You Became– A slowered tempo track whose melody/structure reminds me a little of first track Remedy. The track seems to be about how people have changed because of his fame, but he hasn’t changed. 4/5

Cold-Year_Of_The_Spider-CD8. Sad Happy– a very eerie track about a someone who is stuck in a very abusive relationship and cant get out of it. A sad reality that is too true in the world we live in. 4.5/5

9. Rain Song– A cool track about someone close to Scooter who may have harmed herself in some way and when it rains it reminds him of her. 4/5

10. The Day Seattle Died– A great track on the album that is the band’s tribute to Seattle’s music icons Kurt Cobain and Layne Staley. 5/5

11. Change The World– The track starts with a drum cadence before the band comes racing in with a killer riff on a track that is basically about relationships. 4/5

12. Black Sunday– A track that starts with some acoustic and clean guitars in a track that is about loss of someone close to Scooter, a reoccurring theme in a lot of songs. 4/5

13. Kill The Music Industry– The bands response to the music industry who were constantly telling them that they were going to fail. It also features the track Gone Away at around the 2:55 mark or so. 4/5

My Final Thoughts: Despite the success of the album, the band would soon go through it’s own troubled times as the label refused to promote any more singles from the album and Terry Balsamo would exit the band in 2004 to replace Ben Moody in Evanescence. I am going to give the album 4.4 stars out of five for a final grade because it was a kick ass album.

Advertisements

There have been a whole slew of music videos released that have caught my attention this week and the brand new music video from Five Finger Death Punch certainly got my attention. The band who are still touring for their latest album Got Your Six  have recently released a video for their latest single off the album called I Apologize. The video was directed by Nathan Cox and is a very interesting one. During the video, singer Ivan Moody is walking through a cemetery that with each headstone he walks by reveals a name of a legendary rocker and some that have recently passed like Lemmy Kilmister, Scott Weiland, and legends like Layne Staley, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, etc. Eventually, he stops and he starts digging only to reveal that it’s his grave that he is digging. It’s a cool concept for the video and I can certainly dig it (no pun intended). The band talked about the video saying, “The video is a dark somber metaphor that speaks for itself. I don’t think we need a parallel narrative to explain it or emphasize its impact as almost everyone knows someone struggling with some form of addiction. It’s real for everybody. We have even been losing exceptionally bright, talented people who you’d assume know better. No matter how much support you provide, ultimately it’s everyone’s own decision to face their demons or perish.” Check it out below:

 

layneOut of all the bands that came out of the Seattle grunge scene, no band had as tragic of an ending as Alice In Chains. I say that because the band housed what one of he greatest and gifted vocalists from that scene in Layne Staley. He had a voice that was beautiful, but haunting at the same time. Vocalists since then have been trying to emulate him to no avail. He had a voice that was so unique that it was purely untouchable. Today (August 22) would have been Layne’s 48TH birthday had Layne lived. It’s truly a tragic story because Layne was such a talented individual who was essentially the voice of Alice In Chains and will always be, but had a little bit of a problem. I remember the day I had heard the news that Layne had passed away back in April of 2002. I was hanging out with my best friend and when we left a club, we turned the radio to a local radio station (94HJY) and the Doctor of Metal Mike Gonsalves (who passed away a year later in the Infamous Station Nightclub Fire) was on the air. He out of nowhere announced that Layne had passed away and I couldn’t believe it. I called the radio station and the doc confirmed it with me that it was true. I had high hopes that the band was going to get back together, but unfortunately it never happened. It’s okay because I have my DVD’s and CD’s of music from Layne that I will always cherish. Happy Birthday Layne.

jar of fliesJar Of Flies is the first ever EP (Extended Play) that I have ever covered for the album of the week, but there is a perfectly good explanation for that. It’s not the first record I ever heard from the band (Man In The Box introduced me to them), but it’s a very special album because it was an acoustic album. It’s actually the first ever EP to ever debut at number one on the Billboard Top 200 and Jar Of Flies has gone on to sell 4 million copies making it one of the most successful albums in the band’s arsenal. The album also marked the first time Layne Staley (Vocals), Jerry Cantrell (Guitars/Vocals), Sean Kinney (Drums) had ever recorded an album with their new bassist Mike Inez who had just left Ozzy Osbourne. It also marked the first time the band had produced an album themselves and it only took a week to record. A lot had been going on the in the world of Alice In Chains as the band had lost their place to live after returning from their extensive Dirt tour. Layne once said that the band, “just wanted to go into the studio for a few days with our acoustic guitars and see what happened. We never really planned on the music we made at that time to be released. But the record label heard it and they really liked it. For us, it was just the experience of four guys getting together in the studio and making some music.” Layne also described the origin of the title and how it came from a science experiment Jerry had, “They gave him two jars full of flies. One of the jars they overfed, the other jar they underfed. The one they overfed flourished for a while, then all the flies died from overpopulation. The one they underfed had most of the flies survive all year. I guess there’s a message in there somewhere. Evidently that experiment had a big impact on Jerry.”

jar of flies 2The album begins with the very dark and depressing Rotten Apple, but it starts with a really cool bass line and the band even includes a talk box in a track that speaks about original sin and the eating of the forbidden fruit. My favorite song on the album Nutshell is next and it’s another track that is very dark in the mood in a track about having nothing left to live for. He is almost speaking in a view that it seems like he has been beaten down by society, it’s very powerful and the song is amazing. I Stay Away starts off like it’s going on the lighter side of things, but it soon turns dark as the pre chorus hits. The song features some powerful harmonies as most of the album does and the band uses horns and string instruments for the first time in their careers on that track. No Excuses was the first single off the album and it’s more on the upbeat side as it was written and sung by Jerry Cantrell about his unstable relationship with bandmate Layne Staley. Whale & Wasp is the first instrumental song the band had ever released in their careers. Don’t Follow is another track that features vocals from Jerry Cantrell, but the bridge of the song is sung by Layne Staley. The track also features no electrical equipment except an acoustic guitar and harmonica while being known for it’s melancholic nature. You have to love the country/blues sound of Swing On This that band includes for the final track of the record. I love this EP, it was definitely a great move for the band before they released their final album with the late Layne Staley on vocals. I am going to give this record 4.3 stars out of five for a final grade.

File:AliceinChainsTheDevilPutDinosaursHere.pngI was super excited about the release of this album by Alice In Chains and all the hype surrounding whether they made a good choice reuniting has made me want to listen to it even more. Jerry Cantrell, Mike Inez, Sean Kinney, and William DuVall of Alice In Chains presents The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here. It’s a very unique name for an album title that the band chose and here’s a quote that I found that explains it, “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here” album title refers to a belief held by some religious individuals that to confuse the masses of humanity, Satan himself planted dinosaur bones deep into the Earth to dissuade the faithful.” If you like real closely at the cover, you’ll notice the outline of another skull of the Triceratops and together they form the Devil. It;s the fifth studio album that Jerry Cantrell says that we’ll enjoy. Well, let’s check it out.

File:Aichollow.jpgHollow is the first track on the record that starts with some feedback before it goes into a grunge riff that’s accompanied by some heavy drums and bass. Before long, the song changes into this amazing Stoner rock riff that just pumps you up as they play the verses in a 6/4 time signatures and 4/4 in the choruses. Pretty Done is the next track that has that typical harmonizing vocals we have grown to love over the years over hypnotizing guitar riffs. The one thing I like about the track is that DuVall’s vocals are a little more dominant than Cantrell’s. At times, the song reminds me of the magic of the music Alice put out a long time ago. Stone is the next track and it’s one of my favorites because it starts off with this mean bass riff before it kicks into Sludge heaven with the guitars. Voices starts off with the guitars fading into the song as it starts off acoustic. It reminds me a lot of the vibe of Heaven Beside You. The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here starts off with a creepy clean guitar riff with these moans that sound like they’re coming from Dinosaurs. The track has a very ominous trippy feel to it even when they kick it into overdrive. Lab Monkey takes some influence from Black Sabbath with it’s doom metal feel like the world is about to end.

Can You See Him?

Can You See Him?

Low Ceiling is the next track on the record that takes that classic Alice In Chains sound and mixes it a little bit with some classic hard rock. Much like the last track some parts of it are very ominous as well. Doom and Sludge metal are well explored genres on this album. Breath On A Window is one of my favorite songs that Cantrell just takes over on with his amazing vocal ability. It has that grunge sound that we heard on the last record with some hard rock swagger. Scalpel starts as an all acoustic song before the guitar and other instruments kick in. It’s definitely not one of my favorite tracks, but someone else may like it. Phantom Limb is just pure 100% high octane badass with the opening riff which flexes their metal abilities. Hung On A Hook is just slow and weird, it’s another track that I could do without. Choke reminds me of the Jar Of Flies era Alice with it’s mix of acoustic and electric guitars. It’s a decent track, but it’s not on the same level as Jar Of Flies. Overall, I think it’s a great follow up to Black Gives Way To Blue. I am going to give the record 4 stars out of five. For all the haters out there, give it chance you may end up liking it.

Why Did Jerry Cut His Hair?

Why Did Jerry Cut His Hair?