Alice in Chains is back? It is still functioning? They got a replacement for Layne Staley? WTF? And to top it all, the album is good? You gotta be kiddin me?
Nevertheless, all of those things happened. I had already resigned myself to the fact that AIC was not a going concern, as dead as Nirvana. To see them back in action is good, and the best part is that the album is cool. It is unfair to compare this with Dirt and Jar of Flies, cause that is brilliance that comes to a man once in a lifetime, and for Cantrell and Co to deny that fact would be useless. Their best is behind them. However, they still make good metal music. Or rather Cantrell does. The man has the lone song credits for all the songs on here except for 2. So, yes in part this does become a solo Jerry Cantrell album, which by itself is not a bad thing (I have heard Degradation Trip and it aint half bad man)
So what are they sounding like? They are still AIC, and they sound like the old AIC, and William Duvall (Staley’s replacement) sounds like Staley, without trying. Its not Staley, but he does the job well. You just cannot deny it. All the depression is back, but its a case of them washing it all away, a sort of a send off to the whole era (All Secrets Known). Cantrell’s signature guitar riffs and quirky riffs that seem to go one way but go the other way, are also back and in place. These songs are typical AIC and make a worthy addition to the old songs. It took some time for them to sink in, but they did, and I am getting a kick out of them now. I have always maintained that AIC are one of the best bands of the 90’s era of Alt Rock, and these guys perfectly molded the sludgy grungy riffs into their style of heavy metal.
AIC’s acoustic side was one of the first things that made me like their music (aka Jar of Flies..lets say Nutshell, Rotten Apples) and it is back here. “Your Decision” is a fine example of that, but particularly the piano tinged title track, AIC’s tribute to their former bandmate and frontman is the standout track on here. (Elton John makes a guest appearance on the piano btw). A great farewell for Layne Staley.
Recommended Songs? The title track, Private Hell, Take Her Out, All Secrets Known, A Looking in View, Acid Bubble (this one especially)
Definetly recommended. Sounds Right.
Yet more ALICE IN CHAINS HERE.
More ALTERNATIVE/GRUNGE/INDIE reviews HERE.