Following a decade long hiatus and the loss of Layne Staley (the most unique frontman to ever take the stage), Alice in Chains is back with their first studio album in nearly fifteen years. In 2002 Staley succumbed to his demons after years of drug abuse. The remaining members – guitarist; Jerry Cantrell, bassist; Mike Inez, and drummer; Sean Kinney – are joined by the bands new frontman, William DuVall, on Black Gives Way to Blue. In this album, DuVall gives all the critics that doubted him a reason to shut up and enjoy what the rock world has been missing for so many years. The material on this eleven track epic will give all fans of Alice in Chains, both new and old, a walk back in time to the early 90’s when grunge had its days of glory.
With a similar sound to past releases, Black Gives Way to Blue, will make you remember why Alice in Chains grabbed your ears in the first place. The album opens with, All Secrets Known, and is followed by, Check My Brain, which is one of the bands newly released singles. Songs like: A Looking in View, Last of My Kind, Private Hell, and Your Decision, follow the bands legendary music formula which has made them one of the greatest artists of our generation. My favorite track is the closer. It shares the albums name and features a cameo of Sir Elton John on piano. In this song, the band pays homage to the late Staley with a beautiful heartfelt anthem that is well deserved. Although Layne passed away seven years ago, it is hard not to hear and feel his presence on this new album.
Still present are the Cantrell/Staley vocal harmonies combined with a mix of acoustic yet sludgy guitars. This makes the band sound as fresh as ever. New addition DuVall also helps Alice in Chains pick up right where they left off in 1996 without compromising any integrity. I recommend this album to anyone who enjoys tasty guitar riffs, solos and mind blowing vocal harmonies. For all the haters out there, take my test. Play this album at a high volume, close your eyes, and listen. By doing so, I believe you will remember what drew you to the band in the first place. However if you disagree, why not go out and cop the newest Jonas Brothers album and grab a side of Miley Cryus for dessert?
Music For Your Ears