As you listen to Alice In Chains’ “Black Gives Way To Blue” good gives way to great. AIC’s first release in 14 years is an album worth waiting for. There are 3 components in my opinion that make AIC sound like AIC. The first crucial component for AIC to sound like AIC is Jerry Cantrell’s guitar.
Jerry Cantrell has never been a slouch on the guitar. Jerry has always had great tone and textures in his playing and writing. With this release it seems like he has somehow brought his playing to another level. In the opening song “All Secrets Known” there is a mixture of power chords and synthesizer like volume swells. The open track also features an Indian influenced sitaresque guitar solo.
“Check My Brain” brings you back to classic AIC with dark minor key influenced vocal harmonies. This is the second component AIC needs to sound like AIC. So many bands in the past 14 years have made a living at duplicating this sound. Most of these bands fall short of the creative genius of AIC and sound more like AIC cover bands than themselves.
The third component of AIC being AIC is they evolve. New singer William DuVall is not a plug in replacement for Layne Staley. DuVall brings his guitar playing and writing talents to the table. Without a doubt DuVall gives this band another dynamic to build the future on.
The first two singles for the disk “Check My Brain” and “A Looking in View” are both burning up the charts. “Check My Brain” is already sitting at #1 on the alterative and rock charts, the album itself is sitting at #5. “Black Gives Way To Blue” is simply just that good.
When I review an album by a band with a few releases I ask myself “what does this bring new to the world of music”? How about Elton John playing on “Black Gives Way To Blue”! Elton John has been featured on hundreds of recordings; this is the first time in his career he has been on a grunge record.
This is a solid CD end to end. There isn’t a bad song on the disk. This is a must buy for any AIC fan or fan of the grunge era. Let me go out on a limb by letting you know now that this album will win the Grammy for Heavy Metal album of the year.