This would end up being their final studio album with vocalist Layne Staley. His drug addiction ultimately took his life. Layne’s voice here sounds more downcast but still powerful.
Honestly, it’s my favorite album because of how it feels throughout. It never got the acclaim it deserved. Although it’s a slothful sounding one, it remained intriguing without losing steam.
It’s a freak show. A nightmare of grinding sounds. It’s heavy! Grunge sounds are dominant still. Jerry Cantrell and Layne Staley continue to harmonize well. The guitars shred as if busting through quick sand.
The lyrics are ambiguous and obscure more so than ever. Staley is so much more frightening, dark and creepy with his vocals. But don’t misunderstand me. This “Tripod” record is a masterpiece imho. It’s so beautiful!
On a personal note: It got me through the winter of 1995 and 1996 when I transferred colleges and broke up with my girlfriend at the time. I began my own frightening path of poetry writing content that ultimately freed me from the shame and guilt that surrounded me.
I think of the crappy red Ford Tempo I drove to school and how protected I felt with Alice In Chains at my side.
What matters is I lived through it and that album was my best friend. Here’s a creepy video: