Like most grunge bands of the 90s, Alice In Chains had undergone multiple lineup changes since their beginnings in Seattle, the most notable of course being the death of lead singer Layne Stanley. However, their new lead singer William DuVall, although not Stanley, is by most considered a decent vocalist, although it is sometime difficult to tell since on their new album all of his vocals are harmonized. Their new album The Devil Puts Dinosaurs Here really does hearken back to their past albums with the same heavy base, delirious guitar riffs, dark lyrics, and haunting overall sound, with touches of new styles. The first track Hollow has more than usual deeply layered vocals, and changes things up by surprisingly lacking in their slurred riffs. Stone is the most popular track on the album for good reason. It shows that these guys can still bring energy to their new pieces, and features some awesome lyrics that are different from what they have done before. My personal favorite off the album Voices features a more ballad type feel, with tons of dimension as guitars fade in and out throughout the track. The studio work on this song was terrific – it is clear as a bell. The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here has overtones of political and religious themes relevant to today. It also has a creepy music video done in a true 90s style with a guy in a devil suit playing with dinosaurs and small children – check it out. Lab Monkey is an interesting track with its rhythm changes and thought provoking lyrics. Breath on a Window is a favorite amongst many fans, perhaps because it sounds the most like their older style, but still has some new sound effects that alter the approach. Phantom Limb in another track of note, with its harder edge and great lead guitar intro that commands attention, without over doing it. Overall, this album is a great example of an old group making a successful return, with a great balance of the old and the new. For the old fans, the Alice In Chains sound is definitely still present – don’t fret. For the new fans, they have updated their sound with new lyrics that encapsulate current issues. Make sure to check this album out!
Review by Jamie Erickson.