Having risen from the ashes of the Seattle rock scene, and somehow, bouncing back from the loss of their lead singer, Alice In Chains’ 5th studio album (their second with Layne Staley vocal clone, William DuVall), The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, is actually quite good. (The album was released May 28th of this year, but kilScene was not yet launched. It’s such an important, rocking album, we figured we write the review for it, however late in the game. It’s that good.) Great, in fact. Personally, I hate how much I love this album. No band, and I do mean NO band, should be able to come back from the loss of their singer. However, with modern technology being what it is, even Will DuVall’s voice can be manipulated enough to sound like the late, great, Layne.
No band, and I do mean NO band, should be able to come back from the loss of their singer.
The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here starts with the thick gloom that Alice In Chains has built their career around. Dark, rich tones have always been an AIC staple; and, it’s nice to see that the boys haven’t lost their touch. Jerry Cantrell’s riffs are simply classic Alice (after all, if it ain’t broke, what’s to fix, right?), and yet, it still manages to sound fresh and sexy to the eardrums . In comparison, Alice In Chains’ 2009 “comeback” album, Black Gives Way To Blue, was not something that I was prepared to get behind; The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, on the other hand, forced me to pay close attention, and I’m glad I did. I could obsess for you, going track by track explaining why this album is great, but I wont do that. It would turn into overkill at that point. There is just so much to say, and yet, not enough, all at the same time.
It would turn into overkill at that point. There is just so much to say, and yet, not enough, all at the same time.
The production of the album, like the songs within, are solid masterpieces. Beginning to end, the album plays more like a greatest hits record to accompany Alice In Chains other compilation album, Music Bank (Sony, 1999); but, it is not a greatest hits album, just a really great album, period. Disregarding what I said about William DuVall at the beginning of this piece, dismissing him as a lame Layne Staley clone, the fact is this: William DuVall really does have a fantastic voice, and there it is. During the course of typing this review out, you, my fellow kilSters have been privy to my Jekyll and Hyde personality. Yes, even in death, Layne Staley will always be the voice of Alice In Chains. Even as I typed those words, I realized that it’s just really good to hear Alice In Chains’ music again. What’s more, is that unless this band falls apart from infighting, or some other unfortunate circumstance, we won’t have to worry about losing Alice singer 2.0 (DuVall) to a crippling heroin addiction (it would be fucked up if he acquires a taste for black tar heroin by the time this blog is posted on the site. Then I’ll feel like the Nostrodomus of drugdom).
The review that you are currently reading is not the one I originally wrote. The original was four pages long, with two of those pages spent ranting about how much William DuVall will never be Layne Staley. However, as I sit here in front of my laptop, furiously pounding away on the keys, listening to the album for the third time, I have come to the realization that William DuVall will never be Layne Staley, and that’s okay. Layne, may you rest in eternal peace. William DuVall, to you Sir, I say it took me 7 years to accept you (Ed. Note: William DuVall officially joined AIC in 2006), now please don’t fuck it up.