28 Years Ago: Alice In Chains Melts Faces with "Facelift"

August 21, 2018

That's right. On August 21st, 1990, Alice In Chains, a grunge/metal band stemming out of Seattle, Washington introduced their album Facelift to the world.

The music world was in a strange stasis in the summer of 1990. Pop was still on top, '80s hair metal was on the way out, and grunge was a mere sapling that would soon turn into a mighty redwood of alternative music that would dominate the '90s. So it seemed a bit unlikely that Alice In Chains would stand a chance of rising through the competition with their unique sound.

We all know that bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and Mudhoney would achieve great success in the grunge movement. But it was Alice In Chains that would hit gold and platinum first.

That achievement is due in part to the dark, hard, and heavy undertones of their album Facelift, which was released on August 21st, 1990. It went on to sell more than two million copies with hits like: "Man in a Box", "We Die Young", and "Bleed the Freak".

What is believed that lead to AIC's success is that their truly unique sound was able to resonate with a wide range of audiences. They fit right in with the metal crowd when they joined the Clash of the Titans tour with Slayer, Megadeth, and Anthrax. But they also found commonality with the grunge crowd as well.

Within a year after Facelift hit stores, Nirvana's Nevermind drastically shifted America's attention to the northeast where loads of untapped musical potential has been left ignored. Although Nevermind was the finishing blow for the grunge movement to officially make it to the mainstream, it was Facelift that landed the first hit.