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A compelling look back at grunge's ultimate supergroup

Mad Season - Above: (Deluxe Edition)
4 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: May 13, 2013
Mad Season

Review by Andy Argyrakis

Even though Mad Season only released a single studio album, the supergroup comprised of singer/songwriter Layne Staley (Alice in Chains), guitarist Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), drummer Barrett Martin (Screaming Trees) and bassist John Baker Saunders (The Walkabouts, Lamont Cranston Band) is one of the most important bands to ever come out of the Seattle scene. For starters, the all-star players completely redefined the grunge rules at the time, putting a hauntingly bluesy twist over bellowing alternative rock, surrounded by Staley's numinous lyrics.

As a result, "Above" has no trouble enduring nearly two decades later, and considering the wealth of bonus material on this expanded deluxe edition, it's pretty much a must for any fan of the flannel-dominated era. In addition to the standard album, four previously unreleased songs intended for a shelved sophomore album appear with new lyrics and vocals from Screaming Trees' Mark Lanegan (aptly subbing for the late great Staley). Throw in a full-throttled DVD of the original band's last ever performance, and it begs the question of just how far Mad Season could've come had more time been on its side.

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