Alice in Chains
The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here


3.5
great

Review

by Super Grover USER (32 Reviews)
May 29th, 2013 | 113 replies | 13,685 views


Release Date: 05/28/2013 | Tracklist


“Grind” said it all: “You’d be well advised not to plan my funeral before the body dies.” Is there a more fitting mission statement for Alice in Chains, a band left for dead at least twice now in the past decade? Just as Jerry Cantrell and company shocked everyone with the decision to release a second post-reunion album, they were slaughtered for the decision to reunite in the first place.

And then they hit us with Black Gives Way to Blue, a fantastic album that had the admitted benefit of literally no one thinking it was going to be any good. But BGWTB (holy abbreviation) had a mission statement that was dictated not entirely by the band, but by its context. We needed a song to start with “Hope, a new beginning”, a song that allowed new vocalist William DuVall to show off his chops, a song that addressed Cantrell’s new living situation, and most importantly, a song that addressed late vocalist Layne Staley. They nailed all that with flying colors.

That, I think, is what allows The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here to be so good. There’s nothing that Alice in Chains has to do here--hell, they didn’t even need to make another album as far as I’m concerned. But they did, and they’re free to take shots at whatever they like now without fear of intense critical and fan backlash. The album’s title track, undoubtedly its centerpiece, would have stuck out like a sore thumb on Black Gives Way to Blue, but it’s one of the best songs the band has written, a wry criticism of extremism delivered as only Cantrell could. What’s more, there’s no clear radio single here--“Hollow” and “Stone” aren’t great songs, but they pull no punches for commercial appeal. Even “Voices”, as close to a “Your Decision”-type ballad as the album gets, floats dangerously close to the six-minute mark.

And yeah, sometimes it’s tough not to think about how the title track’s ominous chorus would have sounded with Staley’s eerie vocals layered in. But “Phantom Limb” stands in perfect counterpoint to that, a seven-plus minute behemoth that only DuVall could have pulled off. “Phantom Limb” replaces “A Looking In View”, which replaced “Man in the Box”, as the heaviest thing this band’s done. See the progression here?

There should be more than a single paragraph dedicated to the post-naughties efforts of Cantrell and DuVall. The former has dispelled any doubt that he is, and always has been, the band’s lifeblood with his work on the past two albums. The latter has turned in another impressive vocal performance, effectively stepping out of Staley’s shadow and creating a legacy with the band of his own. This is no longer Alice in Chains with William DuVall; William DuVall is Alice in Chains.

The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here isn’t a home run like its predecessor--there are a fair number of clunkers here and it relies a bit too heavily on its (admittedly fantastic) standout tracks. But here’s the thing: Alice in Chains are somehow, 26 years down the line with a new vocalist and significantly less hair, still progressing. That’s remarkable. This very well may be the band’s worst album, but it’s still damn good.



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user ratings (703)
Chart.
3.7
great
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Tunaboy45 (4)
    A solid album that will please both the older side of the fan base and the younger side to...

    PsychicChris (4.5)
    Alice In Chains's second album with William DuVall upholds the band's expectations but is ...

    overtureoverride (5)
    A beautiful selection of songs that engages the listener from start to finish...

    AaronBatt (4)
    Jurassic Fantastic......

  • JTD (3.5)
    Alice in Chains release a great yet slightly disappointing followup to the excellent Black...

    Greg Fisher STAFF (3.7)
    The new Alice in Chains effort bursts with enough vitality to make a lasting impression on...

    donovan909 (4)
    The Devil Put The Dinosaurs finally lays to rest any qualms about post-Staley Alice. They ...

    YoYoMancuso (4)
    The album Alice In Chains needed to make....

  • Peter K. Mark (4)
    A slightly different monster that bites just as hard as their previous efforts....


Comments:Add a Comment 
tempest--
May 29th 2013



12506 Comments


Absolutely fantastic review. Really enjoying this album currently, I think it's about on par with Black Gives Way To Blue, if not better.

Underflow
May 29th 2013



2522 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review. Basically how I feel about the record, too, though I don't get the problem with Hollow or
Stone.

ShadowRemains
May 29th 2013



20223 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

terrific review

afoolonahill
May 29th 2013



106 Comments


Great review, need to check this out.

Also, did you mean to say that Hollow and Stone ARE great songs? Seems to fit the context of that sentence better.

DrHouseSchuldiner
May 29th 2013



5643 Comments


Great rev ...heard this yesterday and i had some mixed feelings on it

ksoflas
May 29th 2013



343 Comments


William DuVall is Alice in Chains. Oh yeahhhhhh!

SanguineCream
May 29th 2013



598 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I'm liking Hollow, Stone, Low Ceiling and the title song more then majority of this. The album's good in places.

ButteryBiscuitBass
May 29th 2013



9717 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Correct.

HiMyNameIsDylan
May 29th 2013



3 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I really enjoyed this album reminds me of Dirt a bit

Ponton
Emeritus
May 29th 2013



5784 Comments


yeah

SanguineCream
May 29th 2013



598 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

It's nowhere near as good

BigPleb
May 29th 2013



33795 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

True.

THE DEVIL PUT DINOSAURS HEREEEEEEEE

JESUS DON'T LIKE A QUUUUEEERRRRRRRR

Digging: Opeth - Pale Communion

Romulus
May 29th 2013



8410 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

album is automatically good just for making that line catchy

Also, did you mean to say that Hollow and Stone ARE great songs? Seems to fit the context of that sentence better.


they're not my favorites on here. but i mean.. the title track and phantom limb.

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
May 29th 2013



21548 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hollow is one of my favourites but Stone is a bit weak as far as singles go

Digging: Septicflesh - Communion

BigPleb
May 29th 2013



33795 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Stone is awesome.

Nagrarok
May 29th 2013



8169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I agree with most of this but I also enjoy Hollow and Stone a whole lot. You make me a little sad with 'aren't great songs', it sounds so... negative. Hollow's chorus especially is among the best moments for me.

BigPleb
May 29th 2013



33795 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

T/t chorus takes the cake.

SanguineCream
May 29th 2013



598 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Actually Phantom Limb is pretty sweet. Nice riff.

BigSmoke3258
May 29th 2013



2 Comments


Just listened to it once so maybe too soon to judge, but I didn’t hear one song that really stood out.

Gmork89
May 29th 2013



5479 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Choke rules

Digging: The War on Drugs - Lost in the Dream



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