I could say that Alice in Chains’ Unplugged album is my favorite Unplugged album, but that wouldn’t be saying much. Higher praise comes from a declaration just as truthful: It’s one my favorite, if not my absolute favorite, live albums of all time, and possibly the only example of a live album I actually listen to more frequently than the band’s studio catalog. That’s not a knock on AiC’s studio albums, which are obviously brilliant; but their Unplugged performance is painfully beautiful and haunting, and made even more so by the fact that it was the last time Staley performed before he passed away. An Alice in Chains fan can ask for no greater farewell.

And I’d wager that Sully Erna agrees with me. Every time I write about how badly Godsuck wanna be Alice in Chains, some smart-ass defender of awful music comes around and argues that Erna and company sound nothing like AiC, despite the fact that Erna’s moose rock vocals obviously owe a huge debt to Staley, and that “Godsmack” is the title of an AiC song, and that, oh yeah, Godsuck started out as an AiC cover band. So, clearly, my comparison is completely wrong-headed and unfounded.

In all fairness, the Erna solo track in the below video, “Sinner’s Prayer,” sounds nothing like Alice in Chains; instead it just sounds pretentious and self-important. (Are these idiots literally singing the phrase “mumbo jumbo?” This feels like the gang from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia trying to compete in an African folk song competition. Not helping is that there isn’t a single minority face on that stage.) But the set seems so clearly modled on the one AiC used for Unplugged that it’s hard for me to believe it’s just a coincidence — I mean, even the lighting scheme is the same. The only discernable difference is that Erna’s set has twinkly lights in addition to all the candles. If you told me that Erna was deliberately trying to duplicate some of the Alice Unplugged magic, I would not be at all surprised.

Erna’s solo album is called blah blah blah and is blah blah blah who cares.

And here’s some of Alice in Chains’ Unplugged to wash the bad taste out of your mouth:


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