July 26, 2013 Alice In Chains triumph with “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here” (Album review)
Alice In Chains are the gold standard for rock n roll from the 90’s era. The band built one of the biggest names of any rock band during that decade and have proven to be a heavy influence on many bands to follow. Sadly their talented vocalist Layne Staley fell into heavy drug abuse which caused the band to go on hiatus at the height of their popularity back in 1996. The most tragic part of it all was Layne lost his life to drug abuse in 2002. A heart wrenching lose for his friends, family, and Alice In Chains fans worldwide. When Jerry Cantrell and company re-launched Alice in Chains in 2005 with William Du’Vall on vocals it was a bittersweet time for fans. It was exciting to see Alice in Chains performing again and sad because Layne was gone. This resulted in a much divided fan base, those of which who were totally against Alice In Chains without Layne and those who were ready to move on while paying respects to Layne. In 2009 the band released their first studio album in 14 years, Black Gives Way to Blue. Being the first album post Layne it achieved major success and went gold. This proved that not only did fans not forget about Alice in Chains in their decade long absence, they were hungry for new material. Now in 2013 the band releases their 2nd full length album with William Du’Vall on vocals The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here.
The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here is highly anticipated for many fans. Many fans really enjoyed Black Gives Way To Blue and were eager to hear what the band had to offer next. The album starts us off with a classic style Alice In Chains track “Hollow”. Being the first single off the album the track is dark, heavy, and everything you love about Alice In Chains. The atmosphere is set at a even pace giving into a killer vocal performance by Du’Vall. “Pretty Done” is another classic Alice in Chains track driven by slow heavy guitars. There is plenty of guitar ear candy to offer here if you listen closely. The bending guitar strings add soul and depth to the sound Cantrell creates. This all shows us Cantrell’s incredible ability to write intense rock tracks. “Stone” takes you by the chest and doesn’t let go. Being the 2nd single of the record it’s a clear hit, with throbbing bass and grooving sound you will be nodding along. Du’Vall shows us his strong ability to harmonize with Cantrell here. “Voices” is a perfect track mixing acoustic guitars, melody and harmony. The track keeps the atmosphere going with metallic guitar sounds for its duration. When you listen to this track you will feel like it came from the band’s self-title album Alice In Chains (1995). The title track “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here” is a mesmerizing track. Darkness and melody bleed into one as you trip into rock n roll bliss. A beautiful track combining all the elements of what make the band so powerful. “Low Ceiling” is a more of an upbeat track. It is on this track we hear Du’Vall show us a wider range of his vocal talents with a delivery similar to that of Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots. The diversity provides a good change of pace midway through the record. “Scapel” is another track driven by acoustic guitar. With a wonderful vocal performance by Cantrell the track sounds like a missing gem from Jar Of Files (1994). “Phantom Limb” has a grooving guitar riff which is tattooed in your brain within seconds of hearing it. Keeping the grooving vibe throughout the song the sludge is thick and deep. Being the longest track on the album there is even much room for atmosphere here. Du’Vall features a lead guitar solo on this track that is intense as it is soulful. “Hung On A Hook” is a slow heavy track. The bass resonates through your body as the guitar melodies ring in your ears. You will be in awe of the sound and feeling it ignites. “Choke” closes out the album strong. Providing the cleanest sound of all tracks on the album it’s a surprising closer to an already magnificent album.
The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here really raises the bar for a modern rock album. Compared to Black Gives Way To Blue the album is more cohesive and flows at a better pace. Black Gives Way To Blue was a great album but The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here is better. Du’Vall has stamped himself as a fixture in the band and it seems his comfort level is stronger than ever. Cantrell has written some of the best songs of this career here. You will feel like you are listening to a classic Alice In Chains album such as Facelift (1990) or Dirt (1992), but still keeping a fresh and interesting sound. It’s not often in modern rock that a band can provide the atmosphere and intense thick sound Alice In Chains offers. The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here does not disappoint and will go down as a Alice In Chains classic. Cryptic Rock give this album 5 out of 5 stars.