Alice In Chains – Black Gives Way To Blue

2009. It’s their first new release in almost 14 years, and it’s also William Duval’s inaugural effort on vocal duties. They were also on a new label for the first time.

Everything you need to know about why this appeared when it did is, I’d wager, in the opening lines of the first track:

“Hope, a new beginning
Time, time to start living
Just like just before we died
There’s no going back to the place we started from.”

Duval is not Staley and that’s OK, he doesn’t have to be. This still sounds a helluva lot like AiC, largely do to Cantrell’s vocals and the band’s so-familiar sludgy metal grind. I’d say it was exactly the record they needed to make – the songs are strong, very satisfying. They bend and twist like I expected, and they crunch and rock like hell too.  There are some genuinely heavy moments too, I loved that. A lot of it carries a certain feel, one they cling to perhaps to create an overall feel for the record or perhaps also a little bit of apprehension of going too far one way or the other so they stuck it out in the middle where it was known to be good…

But they mix up the acoustic and electric nicely, and having Elton John play piano on the final (title) track is a lovely left field touch.

In Sum:

This is an excellent album. It’s no Dirt, but I don’t even think comparisons to older records are fair. This is a new band, with a new outlook and (after a long time waiting for it) some real hope of keeping the flame alive. Good on ‘em, this one’s really, really satisfying.


Posted on November 27, 2014, in posts by aaron and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. Not listened in a while but I really liked this. Bought it at the same time as Megadeth’s Endgame. That was a good week for new releases!


  2. I have to admit to being a bit unimpressed with these recent Jerry Cantrell albums. I really did dig Check My Brain (it is pretty wonderful), but I’ve never really gotten into this. Tad pedestrian. Whenever I listen I end up turning them off and putting on Dirt or the self-titled album.

    Maybe i should give them a chance … ?


  3. Haven’t really listened to this in a long time. I remember liking some songs, but missing fucked-up-ness of old Chains. I really love their latest album and it made my Top 5 that year. On this one, I really love Your Decision and Black Gives Way to Blue.

    FYI – iTunes has two bonus tracks, acoustic versions of those songs. Awesome.


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