The impact Jerry Cantrell made with his former band Alice In Chains set the blueprint for hard rock in the 1990s like few others. Widely imitated yet never successfully replicated, Cantrell remains a seemingly boundless fountain of crunchy, groove-heavy riffs and eerie vocal harmonies. After a compromise with his label (Roadrunner Records) to release a one-disc version, Cantrell's musical vision can finally be appreciated with the breadth and sequencing he originally intended with DEGRADATION TRIP VOLUMES 1 & 2.
The eleven additional cuts are far from scraps recovered from the cutting room floor. "Pro False Idol" and "Dying Inside" are musical studies of an artist struggling with the sticky marriage of art and commerce, while the sole instrumental "Hurts Don't It?" speaks with as much emotional articulation as any of the vocal tracks. As dark and looming as much of the set is, Cantrell is equally skilled at putting his bitingly honest lyrics into more hopeful musical tapestries, such as "31/32." With closure on the Alice In Chains legacy (due to the tragic death of vocalist Layne Staley), perhaps Jerry Cantrell can finally lay some of his demons to rest.