Alice in Chains
Black Gives Way to Blue


4.5
superb

Review

by Peter K. Mark USER (17 Reviews)
June 6th, 2013 | 8 replies | 1,013 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Alice in Chains live on, and they're better than ever.

4 of 4 thought this review was well written

Jerry Cantrell was always the mastermind behind Alice in Chains' incomparable sound but Layne Staley was also the core element in this chemistry. His unfortunate passing was a blow to everyone. Inevitably, the band took a few years off after the incident, but decided to return with a slightly different line-up. Bringing in a rather unknown vocalist to replace the demised legend was a ballsy move. The ridiculously unbelievable part is that it paid off.

William DuVall's input is flawless. His work on backing vocals, harmonizing and even songwriting are genuinely superb. Last of My Kind literally burns the house down and shows that DuVall is here to make a highly convincing point. His deep baritone voice rekindles the flame and passion of AIC's past work, as he howls through the palm-muted insane riffage in the chorus. His harmonic support role in Your Decision and pretty much every song is admirable.

Relying on a meaty doom sound,Acid Bubble and A Looking in View are stylistic progressive grunge. The latter's sound, textures and dynamics are so rich and dark it borrows from the deepest roots of doom metal. Cantrell summons his heaviest riff yet while the drums are crushing and crushing until your skull rips open. It’s a sonically demanding nightmare and one of the best songs AIC have ever written.

While tracks like Check My Brain and Lesson Learned feature some galloping time signatures, the overall structure and composition of When the Sun Rose Again resemble a ‘Jar of Flies’ approach. The stripped sound is immaculate with dark acoustics, a single paradiddle and a harmonic solo giving you plenty of room to breathe after the exhausting heavy moments.

Whether it’s the uptempo, sludgy or stripped sounds, the album has a dark and depressing vibe from beginning to end. Lyrically, it revolves around Staley’s final moments. A Looking in View and Private Hell zoom in on the notion of isolation, while Your Decision criticizes someone running from their problems/fears instead of facing them (Overwhelmed you chose to run / Apathetic to the stunned).

Black Gives Way to Blue feels like a logical continuation from the Tripod record and also like the beginning of a new era. It’s a fantastic tribute to Layne Staley and a respectable symbol dedicated to his memory. Musically, it stands close to the epic 'Dirt', and at the same time drifting the band into a new direction. With Jerry Cantrell and William DuVall around, the unmistakable signature sound of Alice in Chains lives on and it feels like it’s better than ever.



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user ratings (1458)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • AaronBatt (4.5)
    The sound of a phoenix rising from the ashes......

    ksoflas (4)
    “Black Gives Way To Blue” is a record "statement" which redefines the musical map and ...

    Ctippell (5)
    AIC rise from the ashes to create their finest work yet....

    Chris Davanzo (4)
    Alice In Chains comes back from a fourteen year hiatus stronger than ever....

  • Ryan (4)
    Believe it or not, Alice in Chains is back and better than ever....

    biakaba (3.5)
    A great effort at attaining past glory in a nostalgia fueled grunge/metal album....

    Mike Stagno EMERITUS (4)
    Alice in Chains hasn't lost a step...

    red0 (5)
    Even if it is straight out of the 1990s, Black Gives Way to Blue is about as perfect as pe...

  • Super Grover (4.5)
    The biggest compliment that can be paid to Black Gives Way to Blue is to listen expecting ...

    Nosferatwo (4)
    Alice In Chains does the impossible: they live on....


Comments:Add a Comment 
FCY
June 6th 2013



205 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

After listening to TDPDH, I returned to this. A fantastic experience and I had to review it.

Titan
June 6th 2013



4799 Comments


good review, and even better, i agree with it........pos'd

FCY
June 6th 2013



205 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks!

This is a much more consistent album than the new one. I already got bored of that, but this...this sounds as good as when the first time I listened to it.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
June 7th 2013



15332 Comments


Very nice write up. I agree that their new sound is as good/better than their old one.

Digging: Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds - Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus

CrownOfMagnets
June 7th 2013



2231 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"His deep baritone voice rekindles the flame and passion of AIC's past work, as he howls through the palm-muted insane riffage in the chorus."

This might sound nitpicky but isn't Duvall more of a high tenor? He does sing Staley's parts which would be almost impossible for a baritone to sing. Unless you were talking about Cantrell which makes more sense.

FCY
June 7th 2013



205 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thank you!

About DuVall: He has interesting vocals. His tone is difficult to describe. While he's capable of hitting those high notes, he has this deep vibrato in his voice that gives me chills everytime I hear him live.

FCY
June 7th 2013



205 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thank you!

About DuVall: He has interesting vocals. His tone is difficult to describe. While he's capable of hitting those high notes, he has this deep vibrato in his voice that gives me chills everytime I hear him live.

ksoflas
June 7th 2013



344 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Have pos man. Good job.



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