Degradation Trip

Degradation Trip

5.0 4
by Jerry Cantrell
     
 
His ferocious guitar riffing in Alice in Chains all but defined the darker end of grunge, and he's long since proved his ability to send chills down the spine and rattle the ribcage. But on this sprawling 14-song solo set, Jerry Cantrell establishes himself as a force to be reckoned with on just about every front, penning purposefully

Overview

His ferocious guitar riffing in Alice in Chains all but defined the darker end of grunge, and he's long since proved his ability to send chills down the spine and rattle the ribcage. But on this sprawling 14-song solo set, Jerry Cantrell establishes himself as a force to be reckoned with on just about every front, penning purposefully ugly, powerful tunes, and delivering them with wizened emotion. As he did in AiC, Cantrell focuses on the seamier side of life and refuses to blink: "Mother's Spinning in Her Grave (Glass Dick Jones)" creeps along with ache and angst, detailing crack addict woes with wooze and weariness. Likewise, "Psychotic Break," which was actually written and recorded before the death by overdose of former bandmate Layne Staley, bemoans a landscape of death and near-death. Cantrell spikes these songs with inexorably molten riffage that pounds forward, bulldozer-style. He shifts up a gear or two on "Anger Waiting," a dynamic, stop-start tune that fuses punk aggression with doleful, post-Nirvana self-evisceration. The singer-guitarist has evolved enough to mellow out now and again -- which he does on "Gone," a tune that bears a trace of early-'70s Stones in its country-blues groove -- but he stays true enough to his roots to conjure the punch of Alice in Chains at their peak.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Due to its unfortunate timing -- arriving in stores about two months after the passing of his former bandmate, Layne Staley -- it may be impossible not to view Jerry Cantrell's second solo album, Degradation Trip, without hearing it through the prism of the demise of Alice in Chains and the death of Staley. First of all, the sound is instantly reminiscent of Cantrell's former band because, of course, he was instrumental in creating the slow, brooding minor-key grinds topped with flat vocal harmonies that were the group's stock in trade. Second, if you dig through the lyrics, it's easy to speculate that some of them are about the addiction that sunk Staley. These two qualities are so prominent that some may have a hard time getting around them, but serious listeners and longtime fans will find it much easier to get past the surface and appreciate the album as Cantrell's best record since Dirt. True, it does bear the hallmark of a guitarist who is allowed to indulge his instrumental ideas, with several tracks being as epic as a classic prog rock number, yet this is a good thing since not only are his ideas frequently intriguing, but they are balanced with shorter songs -- cuts that aren't necessarily snappier, but certainly more concise -- giving the record a real sense of momentum, something that's only enhanced by his best, most consistent writing since Dirt. Essentially, this is a more ambitious, focused spin on Alice in Chains' final studio album -- -- which may make it sound a little out of place in 2002, since it is defiantly out of fashion and builds on Alice in Chains' early-'90s sound, but it certainly serves as an effective reminder in a time that's over-run with Alice in Chains clones of how powerful, dramatic, and resonant these hypnotic guitar dirges can be, especially when they're written by somebody at the top of their game.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/18/2002
Label:
Roadrunner Records
UPC:
0016861845124
catalogNumber:
618451

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Degradation Trip 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
On Cantrell's first solo album, "Boggy Depot," he proved he could rock on his own. It was a very solid album by Cantrell, but this is sprawling masterpiece is a giant step up. That Cantrell is one of the best songwriters around is a given. He was the prominent song writer for Alice In Chains, which is why I got this CD, as a huge Alice In Chains fan. Adding to most of his work with Alice In Chains, this is a dark album. It's definitely not something you'd hear to cheer you up. This is performed by a man whose going through various degrees of personal hell. Yet, like with Alice in Chains, he finds a way to combine all his sorrow and grief into something beautiful through the multiple guitar layers, and through his expressive lyrics. Cantrell's guitar prowess is not in question, but some fans might question his vocals. His voice sounds fine, and many AIC fans know that Cantrell sung quite often with AIC. Obviously it sounds similar to AIC, but it's definitely not the same. This album is very focused and cohesive, which is saying a lot since it's long. It's an epic of an album, and I can't wait for the next Cantrell albums. AIC fans should love it, and if you're like me, you'll listen to the songs trying to imagine what these songs would sound like if Layne was singing them.
hound48 More than 1 year ago
Cantrell does a great job of translating his emotions into song. You feel like you're on the degredation trip with him.

Check out in particular - "Solitude" - though he says the album is not about Layne Staley, you can't help but picture Staley holed up in his Seattle apartment. If he had only been able to "pull the weeds choking the flowers in his life".
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jerry Cantrell, former front man of Alice In Chains still has everything he had then plus more. Degradation Trip would be a good example of the raw power this man has. This album rocks from start to finish. If you know anything about what rock music is about, you should have this album. Its so intense! Ive seen him three times in concert, twice this summer alone. Hes one of the most underrated musicians of all time. Buy this album, thats all I can say. You wont be dissapointed. Also if you get the chance, check him out live! Cantrell Rules!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
no good at writing reviews but this is excellent stuff, sort of Melodic, heavy with some popishness tunes, this really rocks top marks Jerry, a gem