Home Read Classic Album Review: Jerry Cantrell | Degradation Trip

Classic Album Review: Jerry Cantrell | Degradation Trip

Backed by Ozzy’s rhythm section, AIC's guitarist offers up a slate of brooding rockers.

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.