The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

Alice In Chains – Black Gives Way To Blue

 

 

“There’s no going back to the place we started from” sing Alice In Chains on album opener All Secrets Known, and whilst that much is true, the fact is that AIC are back. Vibrant, alive and back to the form of their grunge era days, blasting out doomy post-Sabbath riffs and dark tortured lyrics just like in the good old days.

 

It’s inevitable that AIC’s comeback album will be pored over by anoraks looking for the slightest reference to Layne Staley’s passing, and there is much to be found herein to appease their hunger. We, however, shall endeavour to judge the album as it is, rather than how it references the band’s murky past.

 

Firstly, in William Duvall AIC have found a singer who isn’t a direct copy of their former vocalist - instead he has a slightly higher register and less nasally voice but can still sing in the band’s signature style: when I saw them live in April he proved a more than able successor to the microphone.

 

Check My Brain - full of darkness and doom and self questioning, Last Of My Kind – monstrous riff smashing and tearing it’s way into your brain, A Looking in View – possibly the heaviest thing AIC have ever released – these songs could have fit on any previous album, and here they throb and pulse with a massive, almost scary, vibrancy - AIC 2009 is a monster!

 

AIC’s lyrics have never shied away from the darker sides of the human psyche - from self doubt and analysis of one’s faults has always been their bread and butter. Black Gives Way To Blue continues that lyrical trend throughout Private Hell, Lesson Learned and the aforementioned Check my Brain.



Final song, the title track, is a beautiful piano led ballad with a mournful Staley guitar line, lamenting loss and closing with “I’ll remember you”. Perhaps having Alice In Chains back in the saddle will help us all remember what a talent their fallen comrade was, and help us to remember him.

 

Duvall sings wonderfully throughout this album, he seems to have found his proper place and confidence within the band from the very start, and he fills some very big boots indeed.

 

In Black Gives Way To Blue Alice In Chains have reclaimed ownership of their sound and added an exciting, bold and memorable new chapter to their impressive legacy. Long may they continue.

 

Shane