Official Site of Speaker, Historian and Author Sean Munger

Heavy Metal, Music, Video

Metal for Friday: Alice in Chains “Man in the Box” [video].

This may be a slightly controversial Metal for Friday, because it raises the age-old question: is Alice in Chains really “metal?” This question, hotly debated in the 1990s, is something of a chimera. When Facelift, Alice in Chains’s debut album, came out in August 1990, the term “grunge” did not yet exist. I remember accepting Alice in Chains as a metal band, and most of my friends did too. They got airplay on Headbanger’s Ball frequently and they opened on the Clash of the Titans tour in 1991. As the early 1990s progressed and “grunge” became a distinct sound from traditional heavy metal, the term “grunge” began to be applied retroactively, mostly by the mainstream music industry and media. The world forgot that it had once considered Alice in Chains to be metal.

I haven’t forgotten, and I still love this song. Lane Staley’s anguished vocals and the chunky guitar riffs are very much in a heavy metal tradition. Though AIC passed mostly out of a metal style with their successive albums, the Facelift stuff is still pretty heavy. This is the official video, which unfortunately mars the original lyrics (which are supposed to be “buried in my shit”). With the sad deaths of Lane Staley in 2002 and Mike Starr in 2011, both from drug related causes, Alice in Chains is now only a shadow of its former self, but they left behind a legacy of great music.

Have a great Friday, and Shabbat Shalom! \m/



  1. Though I do not feel Alice in Chains was a metal band I was a big fan! Great song! Some of my favorite all time music comes out of the “grunge” genre: Soundgarden, STP, Nirvana, Temple of the Dog, Pearl Jam…Alice in Chains fits right in. Thanks for sharing. Have a great weekend!

  2. I remember when but always considered them more alternative than heavy metal. Always liked them.

  3. I’ll never forget the first time I heard this song. I was at a “battle of the guitars” contest at a local club when Man in the Box starting playing loudly over the club speakers. I was standing with a group of people, loving the sound, and asked, “Who IS this?” One guys standing nearby answered, “It’s some new band called Alice in Chains – they suck.” I was like, “huh?”. I agree with you that Alice in Chains is but a shadow of its former self, but they totally kicked ass back in the day! Great band!!

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