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Steel cage match of grunge greats

Updated: October 13, 2009, 6:17 AM ET
By Paul Shirley | Special to ESPN.com

Two of the most important acts of 1990s music released albums within a week's time in late September. Grunge survivor Pearl Jam put out "Backspacer" on Sept. 22 (or Sept. 20, if you count the iTunes release). Fellow Seattle scene pioneers Alice In Chains followed with "Black Gives Way to Blue" on Sept. 29. The confluence of events is too perfect to ignore; I feel obligated to pit the albums against one another in the octagonal cage that is my own headspace.

I've been a Pearl ...

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