Alice In Chains “Black Gives Way to Blue”

Written by on April 15, 2010 in April 15, 2010, Music Reviews - Comments Off on Alice In Chains “Black Gives Way to Blue”

on Virgin/EMI Records

Alice In ChainsGrunge rockers Alice In Chains release their first studio album in ten years, “Black Gives Way to Blue,” on Virgin/EMI Records which is both bone chilling and invigorating carrying on with their dirty, gritty, grungy characteristic sound. These 11 electrifying songs about faith and perseverance prove that the band may have been down and out, but with this new disc they have knocked it out of the proverbial ballpark with this new CD resurrecting the band.

After the devastating loss of lead singer Layne Stanley in 2002 it appeared as though the band was finished. This album’s genesis can be traced back to January of 2005 when drummer Sean Kinney called guitarist Jerry Cantrell and bassist Mike Inez about getting together for a benefit show to raise money for Tsunami relief. It was the first time in nine years that the three had performed together and following the loss of Stanley, was the first in a series of little steps toward hope and healing.

Enter in William DuVall, a gifted singer and guitarist from Atlanta who had previously worked with Comes with the Fall and as part of Jerry Cantrell’s touring band for his solo project. As live audiences discovered, DuVall brings a sound and stage presence all his own, and when DuVall and Cantrell blend their voices—as Cantrell and Stanley did so often—singing together over the rhythms of Kinney and Inez, there could be little doubt that the spirit of Alice In Chains was once again alive and well.

It’s really astonishing how well DuVall and Cantrell seem to just pick up where Stanley left off and in a manner that is not a karaoke version of the lead singer. “It’s not easy to find your place in a pre-existing dynamic, but he (DuVall) did it,” says Kinney. “He puts his all into it and it fits.” DuVall and Cantrell harmonize with each other in the same vain as Stanley and Cantrell did.

Alice In ChainsAlice In ChainsAlice In ChainsThe album title, “Black Gives Way to Blue,” and the song with the same name is a heart-stirring tribute to Lanye Stanely, their brother and vocalist who passed away in 2002. “It’s about facing up to the bad stuff and continuing to walk forward and live a life,” explains Cantrell. The song features a pleasing piano performance by non-other than Elton John. “It’s a real, raw openhearted song for Layne.”

The lead track, “All Secrets Known,” is dark and forbidding foretelling that there is no going back and features the bands familiar grind and Cantrell’s signature guitar work. “Check My Brain,” is the first single off the disc has droning melodies and an amazing hooky chorus with demented sounds. The song continues to hold the No.1 spot on Billboard’s Top Rock Songs Chart. “Last of My Kind,” talks to the challenges in life in a manner to take up arms against those and break the lies that are fed and includes another gritty guitar solo. The band incorporates heavy metal and acoustic elements on this disc as in the past albums.

“Your Decision,” taps into faith by being up in arms against God and making your decision in which decision one may turn. “When the Sun Rose Again,” talks about being a sellout and carries on those religious overtones about ending a relationship. These two tracks are more acoustic than the other songs slowing down the tempo and adding another dimension to the disc.

“Acid Bubble,” describes about a bidder break-up and breaks into a demonic disconnect – lines are crossed and one may “die in a corner.” The disc finishes off with “Black Gives Way to Blue.”  In the end, Cantrell explains, “Black Gives Way to Blue,” is an album that reflects survival for Alice In Chains. “And,” he says, “I think survival is something to celebrate.”

In October Alice In Chains released the “Black Gives Way to Blue,” iPhone app. The app features full songs from the band’s acclaimed new album on Virgin/EMI Records, music videos, news, photos, social networking and much more. This app separates itself from the pack with an impressive level of interactivity; its custom-built functionality allows fans to interact with each of the album’s 11 tracks via touch, drag and hold feature that reveals visual gems. A demo of the app can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/1VWXWZ. For all things Alice In Chains go to: www.aliceinchains.com.