This came out in 2002 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):
Five things you need to know about this album:
1) Jerry Cantrell used to play guitar in Seattle grunge pioneers Alice in Chains, whose former singer Layne Staley died of a heroin overdose in April after several years of addiction and seclusion.
2) As if that timing weren’t bad enough, several of the songs on Degradation Trip — Solitude, Gone, Locked On and especially the pointed Bargain Basement Howard Hughes — seem to be about Staley and his addictions.
3) While its tragic circumstance may give the disc a greater emotional impact, its musical impact doesn’t need any help. Backed by Ozzy Osbourne’s rhythm section, Cantrell offers up a 72-minute slate of dark, brooding rockers that certainly top his so-so solo debut and may be his strongest work since AIC’s Dirt.
4) Granted, Cantrell’s sawtooth guitar shreds, dripping arpeggios and burnished vocals sound somewhat dated a decade after their heyday, but the undeniable strength and black-hearted moodiness of tracks like Psychotic Break and Hellbound more than make up for it.
5) Sometimes, what seems like the worst timing turns out to be the best.