Alice in Chains
The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here
You might assume that the word “dinosaurs” in the title of Alice in Chains’ new album is an act of amusing self-mockery but, no, these veteran monsters of rock are really not that sort of band.
Jerry Cantrell’s outfit have been cranking out grim grunge for 25 years now, albeit with renewed vigour since a little-known vocalist named William DuVall replaced the late Layne Staley before their previous LP, 2009’s Black Gives Way to Blue.
The resurgence continues here, although in truth the creative force remains Cantrell, whose mighty guitar riffs are in splendid fettle, roaring and growling as if warning off younger rock challengers. There are occasional variations from the familiar wall of noise: Voices adds a twang of country, Scalpel is a little more circumspect, while the title track suggests sinister 1960s horror soundtracks.
That song also introduces an unexpectedly thoughtful lyrical stance, addressing the issue of intolerance in America; “no problem with faith”, concludes the chorus, “just fear”. Dinosaurs they may be, but this is the sound of a band revelling in their very survival.
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