Yes, we know that isn’t the actual name of the album (technically, it’s ‘Black Gives Way to Blue’), but it’s probably a much better description of AIC these days.

Alice is back… But this isn’t Wonderland. When singer Layne Staley died so many years ago, it seemed one of modern rock’s greater outfits was hanging it up for good. And, for all intents and purposes, AIC really didn’t have a choice, as the surviving members went on to create other music, mostly separately.

After coming back together for a benefit with various guest vocalists, including the soulful, sinewy William DuVall, Alice in Chains still seemed to be at a long-term stand-still until DuVall’s involvement started to cement some new material. Now with the release of ‘Black Gives Way to Blue’, AIC comes back with a force and confidence few expected, and with renewed fire, one could easily say that the funk that hung over the band has now become: ‘Alice in Chains, Blue Gives Way to Black’!

The album’s first single, ‘Check My Brain’ is a blistering, roiling slab of rock that stays true to the band’s heavy-but-ingenious grind, complete with sinister vocal harmonies. And there are a ton of great cuts here, including the throbbing ‘Last of My Kind’, the acoustic ‘When the Sun Rose Again’, there are more gems here than can be listed.

Perhaps the best move Alice made was having nothing to prove. This album is less about showing everyone what DuVall can do and more about just creating great music. As the album-opener, ‘All Secrets Known’ rolls into my living-room with DuVall confidently singing ‘a new beginning’, it’s clear that AIC is back for good, taking us further down their own sacred rabbit hole, and regardless of what you call the album, with Alice in Chains; Blue Gives Way to Black.

By yanam49

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