“Black Gives Way To Blue” – “Alice in Chains”

By Jonathan Bradwell 

On the release of “Black Gives Way To Blue”, AIC most current episode to their historical back catalogue, the introduction of new front man William Duvall (Previous ‘Comes With The Fall’ member) to rebuild and respect Lane Staley’s unforgettable  sound, was a matter conversed more or less in every corner of the music globe. 

Too much avail however, even the old school fans, those following from way back in the premature 1900’s, will not be disenchanted: This album is as archetypal as the day the band were born. With a careful mix of an array of subjects, including addiction tongue in cheek hidden reports of addiction, no
one will be let down. 

The initial three tracks characterize this album: coarse, belligerent and nostalgic. With the albums single “Check My Brain” among these opening tracks, the primitive but hard-hitting riff opens up the albums indicative meaning dedicated to Lane.

Of course, like all AIC albums, BGWTB has its own “Down In A Hole” or “Would”, and on this album, they come in the outline of acoustic focused and melody showered “Your Decision” and “When The Sun Rose Again”. With self reflecting words sung at a low and ghostly disposition, whilst in the light of one of rock’s most tragic deaths, this album will transmit a quiver down your vertebrae. 

“Black Gives Way To Blue” is an album where the lyrics are fine tuned to say the slightest. More than two years in construction, the album is on parity with previous releases, with lyrics pushing and provoking emotions in the listener. Although not as raw as prior release “Dirt”, which was shaped and released prior to the fragmentation of the original line up, similarities remain with Jerry Cantrell taking much of the foremost vocals. 

Of course, as with each and every one of the grunge albums from bands of that slimy era, there are no restrictions on the thrash fuelled, angry and aggressive songs, and “Last of my kind” is not immune to this rule. With a beautiful riff curving into a sturdy stop and start chorus, only those foreign with the sounds of the early 90’s would find such a pleasure uneasy on their ears. 

With a colossal tour which has just engulfed the UK into its show list underway, it will be an opportunity of a life time to see this classic band live, when no one ever thought that Alice in Chains would be back on the map. With countless dates of the shows selling out, it goes to show what a huge success “Black Gives Way To Blue” has been, as it seems to fabricate a sound that can be associated with all the stages this band progressed through. 

Subsequent to the build-up of this album which was laden with many preconceptions, the question begs as to what precisely has altered. Well, the sound is fresh and the slower songs give the impression a greater impression. However, in most cases, nothing has changed. Quite frankly, I am glad.

(Picture courtesy of IconvsIcon.com)


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