Alice In Chains

The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here

Written by: SC on 11/06/2013 22:31:49

When bands return from the shadow they often ends up being jokes of their younger selves making tragicomical albums and trying too hard being what they were back in the days. However, in this context “often” refers to the exception that is the few bands that are still capable of lifting their heritage and Alice In Chains is one of those bands. They were one of the most successful hard rock bands in the 1990’s where they released three albums including their broadly acclaimed and fantastic 92 album “Dirt”. The band was one of the co-founders of the grunge genre alongside bands like Pearl Jam and Soundgarden. Grunge is often referred to as a combination of elements from heavy metal, hardcore punk and indie rock. The band has been through a hiatus period of almost nine years and lost their former lead singer Layne Stanley who died from a narcotic overdose that furthermore jeopardised the future. However, in 2006 the band recruited lead singer William DuVall who made his debut on a Alice In Chains record came in 2009 on “Black Gives Way To Blue”, which was the bands first album in fourteen years.

Now Alice In Chains is back with their follow-up album “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here” which can be referred to as the difficult number two - At least I choose to refer to the album that way. “Black Gives Way To Blue” is in my eyes a really solid release that gave me confidence in the future for this band however the new album is not quite on the same level. For instance the drums are not as exciting and it seems like drummer Sean Kinney is trailing a bit, though he does have a great performance on “Phantom Limb”. The track opens up with an extremely solid guitar riff, which continues throughout the song and quickly gets accompanied by one of most solid drumming performances on the record. Kinney’s drumming is overall really heavy yet the tightness of him playing is just so much more intense and determined on this track.

Title track “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here” is probably more characterizing for this album with its slow, acoustic and almost doomy grunge soundscape with the slow either homophobic or religion critic chorus:

“The devil put dinosaurs here. Jesus don’t like a queer. The devil put dinosaurs here. No problem with faith just fear”.

This is to me an interesting choice of words that highlights a politic point of view, which is not a common thing in recent lyric writing in general. However, William DuVall and Jerry Cantrell both sing almost every word of the record at the same time, causing the vocals to be a bit dreamy but at the same time kind of out of focus. Because of these constant double vocals you quickly get to a point where your head is just filled up and when a vocal solo starts you are just too filled up to really enjoy it.

Mike Inez' bass guitar opens up the track “Stone” with a heavy, choking bass riff, accompanied by Kinney’s drums, which create a dark and almost claustrophobic intro to the track. Then Cantrell and DuVall enters the soundscape with a swirling guitar riff that - like “Check My Brain” on the “Black Gives Way To Blue” - almost makes you dizzy like you are inside a room that's constantly spinning. Opening line: “I know you think I’m wrong, but I’m not your tour guide”.

When this is all said, none of it is to suspect the band members of lack of skills but the album just never ends up being continuously exciting company. Most of the songs are really good but as an album “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here” is just not working, at least for me. Duvall and Cantrell’s singing is nice, but the amount of double vocals is just too much and ends up being almost a hindrance and sometimes even overpowers the guitar and bass compositions. Kinney’s drumming becomes a bit boring over time, but if you listen to two or three songs at a time it fits perfectly and in this context the tracks reach their full potential.

Download: Stone, Breath On A Window, Phantom Limb
For The Fans Of: Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Godsmack

Release Date 28.05.2013
Warner Music

Related Items | How we score?
comments powered by Disqus


© Copyright MMXXI