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Alice in Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here

Alice-in-Chains-The-Devil-Put-Dinosaurs-Here

Release Date: May 28, 2013
Producer: Nick Raskulinecz, Alice in Chains
Label: Virgin / Capitol

“Everybody listen…Voices in my head.”

“I do not think you will be surprised with what you’ll hear. It’s still an album, the new chapter in Alice In Chains’s history, but a big one.” Cantrell says. So forget the past. Layne is Dead. Heaven beside him. Jerry Cantrell and his creature are back big time as always.

Harmonies and darkness: another classic album in the grunge band’s catalog without the surprise effect of Black. Dinosaurs is not as immediate as Black Gives Way To Blue, and it takes some time to fully reveal it’s greatness,  still it is extremely satisfying even if you will discover some patterns of old songs composed twenty years ago.

Following the death of Layne Staley in 2002, few would have predicted that Alice In Chains had much of a future. Happily, the band’s fifth album proves that their 2009 comeback ‘Black Gives Way To Blue’ was no accident, new vocalist William DuVall has made the role his own.

“The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here” is an album that feels much longer than 67 minutes. The shortest track on the album, “Stone,” clocks in at just less than four and a half minutes. “Hollow” was released as the first single from the album: it initially debuted online in December 2012, and then made available for digital purchase in January 2013.

As with its predecessor, the new album gives no space to criticism after the reunion, despite the risk of a copy / paste of the typical uninspired reunion of old formations. Twelve tracks that move between past and future, where the duality of the two singers recurs powerfully the real trademark of the band from Seattle.

The triad that opens the record (Hollow, Pretty Done and Stone) is of the most classic Alice in Chains, with muggy atmospheres, a framework of overwhelming and in some parts psychedelic sound.  With “Voices” and “Scalpel” we should reopen the jar of flies closed twenty years ago. Maybe there is not much inspiration, but The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here has dead enough and claustrophobic mood to put fuel into the brand new engine of this band.

Jerry Cantrell is incredibly wise to keep alive the spirit of Layne but also in finding new adventures. The two voices that accompany and follow each other do not affect the magic of the past years, but preserve and distinguish without mimic, good load of emotions that has a sweet taste of tribute. A band that has reinvented itself without speculating on its past, a new beginning to rebuild more themselves than their bank account, in order to continue to give voice to those who have helped make them what they are.

“Turning in circles/ slowing down/ pulling against a closing out/ easy to feed off a weaker thing/ harder to say what I really mean/ hollow as a mountain all tunneled and drilled below/ hollow as a mountain crowned with a cold, blue sky.”

Riffs are impressive, hypnotic and sometimes become obsessive, endless flavors of harmonising, hypnotic sludge. Some great backup vocals. In addition, on a lot of songs they use the lead guitar melody to emphasise the vocals and provide the haunting quality that has become Alice In Chains’ signature.

“Dinosaurs” debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 (the band’s highest chart position since 1995’s Alice in Chains, which debuted at #1), selling 62,000 copies in the U.S. in its first week of release. Nothing sounds new, but this album will remain as a testament to how 90s alternative rock angst can evolve meaningfully to middle age.

Antonello Furione

 

Tracklist:
1. Hollow
2. Pretty Done
3. Stone
4. Voices
5. The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here
6. Lab Monkey
7. Low Ceiling
8. Breath on a Window
9. Scalpel
10. Phantom Limb
11. Hung on a Hook
12. Choke

 

 

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