Alice in Chains
The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here


3.7
great

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
June 1st, 2013 | 355 replies | 64,521 views


Release Date: 05/28/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: The new Alice in Chains effort bursts with enough vitality to make a lasting impression on the quartet's fans.

There's a glaring discrepancy while evaluating an album like The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here. The question always arises whether to take into account the progress of the outfit or only the consistency of the material on display. For better or worse, the second offering of the revamped Alice in Chains can be deemed safe and by-the-numbers. Jerry Cantrell, who's always been the group's catalyst, almost never steps beyond his comfort zone, rehashing his signature darkly enchanting songwriting with hardly any new influences shown.

In consequence, the record expectedly seethes with monstrous riffs, churning rhythms, bleak lyrics and layers of superbly harmonized vocals, the attributes that defined seminal Dirt back in 1992. The fact that Cantrell opted for using the band's name anew after Layne Staley's death may verge on sacrilegious for some, yet it feels appropriate nonetheless since there's no real alteration in the musical direction on the act's new release. Following on hugely successful Black Gives Way To Blue, The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here is a quintessential Alice in Chains endeavor that mostly serves as a trip down memory lane to the the glory days of grunge. It's to Cantrell’s credit that the record feels like a natural continuation of the outfit's musical path, paying homage to Staley's legacy instead of tarnishing it.

The new album certainly makes for a less immediate experience than its predecessor because the quartet indulges itself in more complex, longer forms. This more progressive approach doesn't work nearly as well here as on Cantrell’s second solo album Degradation Trip though. Clocking in 67 minutes, The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here feels overlong and samey at times. If such tracks as “Low Ceiling” and “Phantom Limb” were trimmed down, the whole presentation would be more concise and effective. Instead, it takes plenty of spins to truly embrace many of these tunes, which makes for a fairly surprising conclusion given the group's instantly identifiable aesthetics.

Despite the album's homogenous nature, there are still enough highlights to guarantee the high replay value. The opener “Hollow” is an ideal encapsulation of the outfit's strengths, boasting sweetly venomous harmonies of Cantrell and William DuVall on top of kaleidoscopic riffs and a tight rhythm section. The effect proves even more resplendent when both singers wail in unison: “Silence, so loud / Silence, I can’t tell my up from down,” exerting a profound impact. In contrast, “Stone” overflows with a groove-laden lead riff that supremely blends with Mike Inez's throbbing bass line and Cantrell's trippy soloing. The title track, which is curiously a sardonic critique of fundamental Christianity, overwhelms with its compositional magnitude. Elsewhere, “Breath On A Window” marks a pleasing shift in mood, radiating with its upbeat arrangement that adroitly builds to a trance-inducing outro. Amid moody ballads Alice in Chains have always been renowned for, the country-tinged “Scalpel” stands out as the most inspired and memorable.

At its core, The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here is a rock solid record that sees Alice in Chains settling in the confines of their established style. Cantrell remains at the top of his game, delivering a set of finely composed songs that emanate a familiar sense of dread. While the album's handicapped by its refusal to venture beyond the quartet's stylistic constraints, the fans should be perfectly pleased with its nostalgia-evoking content.




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user ratings (702)
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...

    Super Grover (3.5)
    ...

    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 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
June 1st 2013



3321 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great review, I agree with you. It's a great album, but it's repetitive. Even so, I enjoy it a lot (a bit more than the previous record) especially Stone, Voices, Lab Monkey, Breath On A Window and Choke.

Digging: Karma To Burn - Arch Stanton

YoYoMancuso
June 1st 2013



10814 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

yeah the length is this album's biggest issue. Nice review

SitarHero
June 1st 2013



4602 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Haha! So it finally grew on you Greg?

greg84
Staff Reviewer
June 1st 2013



7305 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Yeah. Of course it's grown on me. It's AIC.

Lab Monkey and Choke are also great Raul. I agree.

Thanks guys.

Digging: Dog Fashion Disco - Sweet Nothings

Titan
June 1st 2013



4799 Comments


'“Breath On A Window” radiates with its upbeat arrangement that effectively builds to a trance-inducing outro.'

one of the best moments of the album imo......solid review Greg.

SitarHero
June 1st 2013



4602 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I see Cantrell putting out a country album somewhere in the future. Voices sure is pretty. Scalpel has its moments but is not as fully realised.

DominionMM1
June 1st 2013



9492 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

well done

Digging: Neurosis - Through Silver in Blood

greg84
Staff Reviewer
June 1st 2013



7305 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

I don't dig Voices so much. It's one of these tracks that feel too long. I prefer Scalpel and Choke.

Yeah. His country influence is apparent for sure. I don't know if I'd be interested in listening to the entire album of such tunes though.

SitarHero
June 1st 2013



4602 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Hmmm. Maybe it stands out to me because it's so upbeat and since it comes right after the crushing opening trifecta.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
June 1st 2013



7305 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

That may be it. It's definitely going to be their next single though.

bloc
June 1st 2013



34663 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Title track is my favourite

Digging: Anberlin - Lowborn

greg84
Staff Reviewer
June 1st 2013



7305 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

It's definitely the most interesting track lyrically on the LP.

Nagrarok
June 1st 2013



8169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I think I couldn't agree more with you on this one Greg.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
June 1st 2013



7305 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Who's your favorite reviewer Nag?

Haha. I thought it was mediocre after the first spin, but this is a grower. Plus, I guess I'm a bit of a fanboy.

Nagrarok
June 1st 2013



8169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Well, normally my ratings always end up lower than the ones you give out with your reviews. In this case, not only have I been listening to an album before you covered it, but I also find some of my exact thoughts reflected in what you wrote. It's nice to change things around for once, haha.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
June 1st 2013



7305 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

The ratings are not really that important for me. It's obvious they may change in time.

You're right. I'm usually the one who others take recs from. That's why it's always been like that. I almost always review bands that are unknown to the site.

Nagrarok
June 1st 2013



8169 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I almost always review bands that are unknown to the site.


And at that you have done a great job, I've discovered some great albums thanks to you putting them out there. Regarding the ratings, we all have our own way of using the site's 1-5 scale. I'm not quick to give 4.5s, let alone 5s, to new albums.

xVision
June 1st 2013



662 Comments


need to get this

oltnabrick
June 1st 2013



30056 Comments


album is ok

Digging: Stellar OM Source - Ocean Woman

greg84
Staff Reviewer
June 1st 2013



7305 Comments

Album Rating: 3.7

Yeah. That's a good point Nag. I've always been in favor of using the full rating scale. But obviously, you can do what you want.



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