|Alice In Chains
|The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here
Alice In Chains has been one of the best-known bands during the so-called grunge era up to the mid-nineties, before coming to a tragic stop because of what we all know. There are not that many bands that managed to go on — successfully — after losing such an important piece as the vocalist Layne Staley. The story of Cantrell's decision to revive the name Alice In Chains has been thoroughly examined at the time of their previous effort "Black Gives Way To Blue", I want to focus here on the new album, taking it for what it is: a good sequel to what the band put out in 2009.
The new album's title, "The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here", ironically quotes the belief according to which the devil left dinosaur bones around the globe to test people's faith in divine creation. This idea is further developed in the artwork where, by combining the skulls through visual effects, you can see Satan’s head.
Jerry Cantrell is, as usual, the main composer in the band and once again managed to place many solid riffs throughout the album: "Stone" and "Phantom Limb" are, in my opinion, among the most outstanding in all of Cantrell's production in this respect. The double leading vocals (one of the band's main features in the '90s as well) are back with Cantrell and DuVall sharing singing duties (as in the title track). The style, in short, is what Alice In Chains got us used to through the years, nevertheless managing not to sound too "nineties".
With "Black Gives Way To Blue" the band successfully brought their music into the new century, "The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here" works as a confirmation that they are still perfectly capable of composing consistently good music. Still, sixty-seven minutes might feel a tad too long, for what is after all a hard rock / metal album with some acoustic bits here and there. Old fans might find this album lacking some emotional drive, compared to their '90s works, but I believe that present Alice In Chains sounds exactly as it "should" in the '10s.
In conclusion, this is an album that fans of this band and of the genre will be likely to appreciate. An album without many surprises or let-downs, well-composed and performed. Yet more proof of Jerry Cantrell's composing skills, showcasing his extreme familiarity with these musical territories.