Saturday, May 25, 2013

Alice in Chains - The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here (2013)
After the masterful "Black Gives Way to Blue" of 2009 (one of my all-time favorite records), my expectations for Alice in Chains' new release were incredibly high albeit somewhat tempered by lingering doubts over whether they ever top or even match that phenomenal album. Well, I can't quite say that those doubts have been put to rest but this is still a monster record that is likely to be my album of the year. There are so many jaw-dropping moments on this album that I don't want to spoil for you in case you haven't heard it, but I will mention a few of them. Some of the things that stick out most to me are the beautifully dark and epic ending to "Lab Monkey," the infectious riff in "Stone," the uplifting, anthemic ending to "Breath on a Window," and finally the beautiful "Down in a Hole" vibe of "Choke."

Alice in Chains' fifth album is certainly a worthy addition to the band's discography, but I feel that are a few shortcomings which prevent me from either giving it a 10 or liking it as much as "Black Gives Way to Blue." One of these is the sameness factor. Now, this isn't a huge problem by any means but it is there and makes it so some of the songs lose some of their uniqueness. Compare this to "Black Gives Way to Blue" where each song, in my opinion, has a unique identity and stands on its own two feet so to speak. Tying with that issue is my feeling that some of the songs, especially the title track, feel too long for their own good whereas BGWTB felt nice and concise. Finally, William Duvall simply doesn't have enough solo vocal parts. In fact, that's really my main beef with this album since I was hoping to hear him more than on BGWTB.

All this may sound like nitpicking and I admit they are minor issues in comparison to how pleased I am with this album, but I was hoping for perfection and didn't quite get it so I feel that I have to point them out. Overall, this is a brilliant achievement for a legendary band and I find myself coming back to it again and again. Hopefully you will too.


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