Alice in Chains
Smile Empty Soul
Tracklist1. Days Ago
3. Edges of the World
4. Riders on the Storm
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Grunge is a genre that is seldom touched any more, other than to maybe spice up the current hard rock song template. You have your Three Days Grace or Smile Empty Soul here and there that try to make the best of what they can do with the sound (which isn't much) while still maintaining their ability to attract radio play. You also have Alice in Chains and Jerry Cantrell trying to keep the sound alive single-handedly, but in comparison to the 90's, there's hardly a decent grunge album to listen to any more.
After don't go full-on grunge, but they do utilize the aesthetic quite well to craft their mix of Finger Eleven, Incubus, and Alice in Chains. Unlike other lost genres such as cheesy pop-punk or nu-metal, grunge isn't a bad influence to have attached to your music. After realizes this and make sure to put it at the forefront just often enough to show you that their love for the genre is not something they're ashamed of, but instead something that they're quite proud of.
The three original songs on this EP all feel like a combination of the aforementioned three bands (leaning much heavier on the Finger Eleven influence than the other two, though). "Days Ago" starts the EP off with what sounds like an unearthed Alice in Chains riff that leads into a strong, grungy, alternative rock effort. It's a very mature sounding song, and it would be well suited to be played on modern rock radio.
"Bones" and "Edges of the World" aren't as grunge riff filled, but take on a more progressive alternative rock sound with some grunge leanings. It's hard not to hear a lot of very early career Finger Eleven throughout these tracks. My guess is a lot of that has to do with the methodical, midtempo pace that the band utilizes to deftly straddle the line between full on rocker and anthemic alternative power-ballad.
The final track mixes things up with a grunge-ified cover of "Riders on the Storm" from The Doors. This song has been covered to death, but After do it justice and don't butcher it like so many others have before them. I sense a healthy respect as they transform the song into a distorted, riff-iffied new version.
There's a load of promise oozing from this EP. Given that it is quite a feat to find bands willing to play in this space and do it well, you'd be quite remiss in passing over Edges of the World.