What are the five heaviest Alice In Chains songs with Layne Staley?

One of the most interesting things about Alice In Chains is that while they've always been classified as a rock band and are generally considered one of the "Big 4" bands of the Seattle grunge scene, many metal fans seem to really love them too.

That's likely because out of that "Big 4" (which also includes Soundgarden, Nirvana and Pearl Jam), Alice In Chains are undoubtedly the heaviest. Jerry Cantrell's sludgy guitar-playing, in particular, contributes greatly to their droning sound, as do his creepy harmonies with the late Staley and current vocalist William DuVall.

"We're part of the metal thing. We're a lot of different things, too. I don't quite know what the mixture is, but there's definitely metal, blues, rock and roll, maybe a touch of punk," Cantrell told Guitar World in 1996.

READ MORE: How Did Layne Staley Become the Singer of Alice In Chains?

"The metal part will never leave us. And I never want it to."

For this list, we wanted to focus on the band's catalog of songs with Staley, since it would be unfair to compare their older material to their newer albums when they have a different singer now.

Scroll to see the five heaviest Alice In Chains songs with Layne Staley.

The Five Heaviest Alice In Chains Songs With Layne Staley

Ebet Roberts, Getty Images
Ebet Roberts, Getty Images

"We Die Young" (Facelift)

"We Die Young" is the opening track on Alice's first album Facelift, and immediately sets the precedent for how raw and visceral the entire record is. Cantrell's guitar tone, Staley's snarls and the pace of the rhythm section work together to hook listeners in and spit them back out two-and-a-half minutes later, right into "Man in the Box."

"Them Bones" (Dirt)


Let's just say Alice In Chains have a propensity for strong album openers. "Them Bones" kicks off 1992's Dirt, and it sounds like it's on the soundtrack of someone's nightmare.

It's one of the group's speediest songs and features some of Cantrell's best guitar work — though that can be argued for many of their tracks — including a chromatic riff written in an odd time signature.

"Dam That River" (Dirt)

Following "Them Bones" is "Dam That River," another explosive offering from Dirt. Aside from the chugging guitar riff, Mike Starr's bass helped make this song especially heavy, as did the inspiration for it — a fight between Cantrell and drummer Sean Kinney.

"A stupid, dumb fight," Cantrell recalled to RIP Magazine. "We got really pissed off and shit, and you can't hold back emotions. Sometimes you have to blow off steam. And we did."

Thus, it seems that steam makes for an excellent piece of music.

"Again" (Alice In Chains)

Alice's 1995 self-titled album (also referred to as Tripod) is the band's darkest and heaviest with Staley, especially as the singer, whose personal struggles were at an all-time high, took charge in writing most of the lyrics.

The guitar tone in the brooding "Again" features what is perhaps Cantrell's most thick and distorted ever, which almost makes it difficult to classify the track as a rock song.

"Brush Away" (Alice In Chains)

We saved the underrated track for last, since the rest on this list were all either singles or just really popular. It's one of the few Staley-era tracks that they never played live, and is one of their most doomy songs — and that's saying a lot.

The lyrics are about trying to break free from something — a feeling of hopelessness and despair — while the instrumentation pummels behind them.

The 24 Songs Alice in Chains Have Never Played Live

These are the 24 songs Alice In Chains have never played live. Two songs have been played by the band, but not with Layne Staley, so they are marked.

Gallery Credit: Lauryn Schaffner

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