Picks and Pans Review: Alice in Chains

updated 11/20/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 11/20/1995 AT 01:00 AM EST

Alice in Chains

In the darkest hole, you'd be well-advised/ Not to plan my funeral 'fore the body dies." So begins another warm and fuzzy release from Seattle's most malevolent-sounding grunge outfit. If shockmeisters Wes Craven or Clive Barker haven't ever heard any of Alice in Chains' music, they just might want to consider this eerily compelling disc when scoring their next horror flicks.

Lead singer Layne Staley, who possesses one of rock's most penetrating voices, is in rare form on the band's third album. He sounds downright menacing on the head-banging riff-fest "Grind" and comes across as some lost member of the Buffalo Springfield on the brighter, mid-'60s pop-inflected number "Heaven Beside You." Guitarist Jerry Cantrell has elevated his level of playing to Slash-like status; his aching lead on "Over Now" perfectly showcases his dexterous chops. Like a good scary movie, Alice in Chains leaves you tingling and may even burrow its way into your dreams. (Columbia)

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