RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Mad Season – Above Deluxe Edition
Legacy Records

Rating: B

Mad Season was a supergroup who released one album and then faded into obscurity.  The super in the group was pretty super, however.  Layne Staley of Alice in Chains on vocals, Mike McCready of Pearl Jam on lead guitar, Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin and bassist John Baker Saunders of the Lamont Cranston Band formed the band and released Above in 1995. 

The music was pretty much the Seattle sound with a twist.  Staley never quite fit in with the Pearl Jam/Screaming Trees typical Grunge, as he was very emotional whereas most of the Grunge bands were anti-emotion, or only showed two feelings, anger and angst.  Staley, and Alice in Chains, were more hard rock and this influence on Mad Season deepened the group.

Legacy has released a treasure trove deluxe edition of Above for all fans of this flash in the pan supergroup.  This is a three-disc set comprised of two CDs and one DVD plus a full-color collector's booklet with previously unseen performance photographs and an essay by Barrett Martin reflecting on the lives of Staley and Saunders and the history of the band.

CD 1: This is the original album along with an unreleased acoustic song titled “Interlude.”  There are three new songs from what would have been the band’s sophomore effort.  Also included is a remixed version of the John Lennon cover “I Don’t Wanna Be a Soldier.”

CD 2: This is an audio version of the band’s concert at the Moore theater in Seattle.

DVD: This is the gem of the package.  It is the last show every performed by the band.  It is remastered and has a new documentary included.  There are four songs that have been added and have never before been seen. 

While the band never made their mark, because of Staley’s untimely death, this makes this historically important and of interest to his fans.  The band was good, not great.  The music struggles at times, but, overall, it is original and a good measuring stick of what was going on in the Seattle scene at the time.

By Jeb Wright