William DuVall – lead vocals, rhythm guitar
Jerry Cantrell – lead guitar, lead vocals
Mike Inez – bass, backing vocals
Sean Kinney – drums, percussion
Seattle has been a factory for producing bands for a very long time. Alice
in Chains is one of the bands at the top of that list. Beginning back in 1987 and really taking off during the grunge movement
selling over 17 million albums. The band also achieved two number-one albums (Jar of Flies and Alice in Chains), 11 top ten songs and six Grammy Award nominations.
In 1996 one of the bands founders, Layne Staley, barricaded himself in his Seattle home rarely coming out. 1998 seen Staley
come out and do more AIC work. During those 2 years Cantrell started on his own solo project and releasing an album. In 2002
a second Cantrell album was ready to go, but in April Staley was found dead. In 2005 the band reunited again for a benefit
concert then in 2008 the band headed into the studio and wrapped up recording in March of 2009. The newest Alice in Chains
album hit stores at the end of September poised to skyrocket on the charts. Black
Gives Way To Blue is the first AIC studio album in 14 years. It opens up with “All Secrets Known” a
track that is slow to start. It builds for a while then begins to speed up for the vocals to enter then slumps right back
down. It glides past leaving you wondering if this is going to be the trend of the album. The vocals are drawn out almost
slurring at times, but are easy to follow and sing along with. The guitars step up in spots taking the track along with it.
“Check My Brain” grabs your attention right off the bat. It has this annoying guitar that spreads just about the
entire track taking a break for a second or two a few times. Oddly enough it holds you long enough for the vocals and drums
to capture you. The tone of the vocals is much like the opener, but the backing vocals do more work on this one. “Last
Of My Kind” gets a bit harder and darker. The vocals are heavier as the music is lead by heavy riffs and pounding drums.
They get really nasty sounding with a STP flair. It is sure to get the crowd in a frenzy especially with the chorus and the
guitar solo. It’s a top tier track! “Your Decision” is a slower track with great gang vocals and a flowing
guitar the grooves as “A Looking In View” gets a bit harder with pounding drums and some guitar affects with the
7 plus minutes. They again do some gang vocals that a just a bit off center to give an echo effect. It sounds pretty cool,
but I don’t think that it will stick as a repeat track. I see it as more of a once and a while type. “When The
Sun Rose Again” throws some percussion instruments at you besides the normal drums as well as gang vocals with a bit
of echoing effect on them. “Acid Bubble” spreads nearly 7 minutes as it’s the second longest of the album.
It again starts slow like the recurring theme of the album. It’s kind of like a football team the just keeps marching
down the field 4 or 5 yards at a time, slow and methodical. “Lesson Learned” kicks up the tunes with higher flying
guitars and drums. The vocals are still a bit on the slow side, gliding past with easy. “Take Her Out” begins
with some good music that gets you going and interested in the track. The vocals enter and continue that trend with sweet
sweeping vocals. The track is topped off with a great guitar solo raising the little hairs on the back of your neck. “Private
Hell” takes a step back and reflects. The track fuses together vocals with steady drums and soothing guitars. The vocals
are the star of the song taking over with a variety of styles. The guitar solo doesn’t hurt either. The title song ends
with album with the shortest track. “Black Gives Way To Blue” is slow like much of the album starring the vocals
and a sweet guitar. They also toss in some keys/piano and some other effects to complete the track. Overall the album is okay.
It only has one killer track with a bunch of ones that are just about there. The dynamic sounds of the slow tracks seem to
be what they were really going for and hit it out of the park. I just don’t see if doing any work on the radio or chats,
because of the lack of star power. The music is alright for the most part, but doesn’t really get going that much. The
few guitar solos are tremendous and the drums let loose a couple of times. The vocals are the star element for the most part.
It was 14 years from the last album so many AIC fans will head out and pick the album up without a question, but those newbie
rockers might take some time to decide to pick this album up.
Rating: 7 out of 10
Tracks To Watch:
Last of my Kind
- All Secrets
- Check My Brain
- Last Of My Kind
- Your Decision
- A Looking In
- When The Sun
- Acid Bubble
- Lesson Learned
- Take Her Out
- Private Hell
- Black Gives
Way To Blue
Website (s): www.aliceinchains.com