Alice in Chains, when spoken out loud, is understood by all in earshot. Love them or not, every person who says they enjoy rock music in some format knows who they are. One of their finest works was the 1992 classic, Dirt (Columbia Records), which spawned five radio hits, peaked at number six on the Billboard charts, and has sold over five million copies worldwide. Now, twenty-eight years later, the next generation of rock stars have paid tribute to a timeless classic by each taking on a track to cover however they want; thus, was born, Dirt Redux (Magnetic Eye Records).
I could honestly rattle off thoughts about every single track on Dirt Redux, but I would rather leave room for imagination and curiosity. ‘Down in a Hole’ was just the perfect track for Khemmis on this project. Sticking to their doom metal signature sound, the Denver, Colorado group really made this radio hit cover just as gloomy as the original. Slower, longer, deeper, yet still a beautiful track. Paying tribute to ‘Hate to Feel’ is sludge metal pioneers, -(16)-, and boy did they nail this cover as well. The choppy verses from the original recordings from AIC are still here in this cover, but in the form of a breakdown with the cymbal work breaking up the short moments of silence. Harsh vocals are also seen on this track, which, only a few groups incorporated anyways, but all done right. The album closer, ‘Would?’, which has been covered by many before but none like this, gets a makeover by The Otolith, the group that has risen from the ashes of the now-defunct SubRosa. The eerie electric violins are present as expected and adds a very ominous atmosphere note on top of every other music layer underneath. The entire experience just has the overall emotion of being comfortable and accepting of death, a popular theme in many Alice in Chains classics.
In horror, there are anthology movies, a movie comprised of short films, all done, sometimes, by different writers/directors. Dirt Redux is the exact same concept just in the shape of music recordings. Each track honestly made me feel that each covering band just took the direction in some way, big or small, at making their covered track really their own. Moreover, no matter how different on the surface the covers were, the song is still recognized immediately. Sure, some say you can’t beat the classics, but that is not the focus here. The idea was to pay respects to one of the greatest hard rock albums ever to which I say the goal was reached and then some.
8 / 10