Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Alice In Chains-The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here

Capitol Records

I was back in high-school when Seattle's Alice In Chains released "Facelift" and I do remember that it was not an instant hit. It took awhile for the group to catch on, but when they did, thanks to "Man in the Box", they did it big time! Suddenly everyone was talking about this new grunge band and how sick they were. As much as I did like "Man in the Box" I never ended up buying the album. I'm not sure exactly why that was. Maybe I was just afraid that it was all hype. Back then there were limited means available if you wanted to preview an album from start to finish. Outside of having someone lend you the album or being somewhere where the whole thing played you were really at the mercy of word of mouth and print reviews. I'd been burned way to many time by killer singles mixing with mediocre albums. So I never did get this album back in the day. In fact, to this very day I don't believe that I own a hard copy of "Facelift". I keep meaning to change that, but I never get around to it or I plain forget. The fact that this band is now on album number 5 is strange to me for several reasons. First off I didn't expect the group to last because of addiction rumors in the early years. While they did survive their lead singer didn't. In 2002 Layne Staley died of an overdose. At that junction I expected the band to fold so, in another way, it's as weird to see these new discs appear post-Staley as it is to think "They're only on album number 5 after all these years?". To be fair though there has been 3 EPs and 2 live albums as well. But full-length wise? Only 5 for this American band. Here it is though and even now I'll admit that I don't own a physical copy of an Alice In Chains release including this one! I was just fortunate that my local library was able to secure a new copy of this album. I checked it out twice. Willium DuVal, who joined Alice In Chains in 2006, marks album number two with these hard rockers and it all clicks. From track number one onward this thing just smokes. The guitar riffs that pour forth from founding member Jerry Cantrell are decidedly nasty and overall this album has a unique heaviness all it's own. In a way it's the natural progression from grunge and in another way it's almost a step by step instruction as to how to perfectly build a heavy metal record from the ground up. I'll not go track by track as their are plenty of reviews out already that tackle that approach. Instead my overall impression is that this LP hits more high points then lows. It also gives me a new appreciation for the musicians who played in the background from the word go. Yes, Layne Staley was one of a kind, but the actually band  that stood beside him and in back of him made Alice In Chains just as tough as his tortured vocals did. Willium DuVal might not have the same sort of impact for a lot of fans, but he carries his own and with the band hitting high gear this LP sizzles. Definitely an album that I will have to buy a physical copy of for my very own.

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