Sunday, November 15, 2009

Alice in Chains: Black Gives Way to Blue

Artist: Alice in Chains
Album: Black Gives Way to Blue
Date Released: September 29, 2009
Genre: hard rock, grunge, alternative metal
Rating: 8.0

With Black Gives Way to Blue, Alice in Chains wins the most surprising album of the year award.

It's fair to say that expectations were justifiability low given that it's been 14 years since their last album and seven years since the untimely death of vocalist Layne Staley. Moreover, given the recent surplus of over-the-hill bands trying -- and mostly failing -- to recapture former glory, it would be easy to dismiss this as another self-serving money-grabbing effort.

But not so fast. Black Gives Way to Blue is a very good album. Jerry Cantrell and company have introduced William DuVall to the team, and while he doesn't have that wounded-animal quality that Staley had, his vocal presence is nonetheless impressive and completely aligned with the band's characteristic gloomy sound. With DuVall onboard, Cantrell can once again arrange those gorgeous harmonies that were an integral part of their sound from a decade ago.

And the songs are great. Right from the opener, "All Secrets Known," the band plays goose-bump inducing grunge that picks up right where they left off. Other track highlights include "Check My Brain," "Your Decision," and "Acid Bubble."

Call me sentimental, but it's great to see this band back together again and sounding so damn good.

No comments:

Post a Comment