CD: Alice in Chains - The Devil put Dinosaurs Here | New music reviews, news & interviews
CD: Alice in Chains - The Devil put Dinosaurs Here
Phoenix-like grunge metallers keep it sludgy and nasty
In its day Alice in Chains’ so-called “sludge metal” – something a bit like the sound of industrial machinery pulled through treacle – was some of most darkly brilliant music to come out of Seattle. Much of this was down to Layne Staley’s drug-soaked lyrics which eventually proved prescient: in 2002 he succumbed to an overdose. Seven years later, when guitarist Jerry Cantrell resurrected the band, many wondered how long the new line-up could keep it up.
On the strength of this new album they can do it as long as they like. The droning guitars, sledgehammer drums and bitter melodies on The Devil put Dinosaurs Here are as dirty as ever. Particular mention, however, needs to go to the vocals. Probably not since Brian Johnson stepped into Bon Scott’s shoes has a front man been such a shoo-in as William DuVall. A surprisingly versatile singer he is eerily capable of recreating the band’s muscular angst.
The tunes are pretty much classic Alice in Chains with a little early Queens of the Stone Age thrown in. It’s a well-judged mix of swampy fuzz fests and brooding slow-burners. Fans will have already judged for themselves what they think of single, “Hollow". Better still is “Stone”, (see video below) but if the album harbours a big hit, however, it's surely the acoustic anthem “Scalpel”, which has a whiff of Nirvana about it.
British audiences may find one song a little quaint. The title track finds the band baiting evangelical Christians and their theological position on creation. Still, if their religious hang-ups sound a little outdated over here, at least they express themselves in true blunt AiC style: “The devil put dinosaurs here / Jesus don't like a queer.”
Watch the video for "Stone"
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
more New music
Not so crazy after all these years
From Afrobeat to psychedelia, from electronica to guitar pop, it's all here on plastic
As grime enters its mature phase, what contribution can Manchester make?
Literate Canadians bond with the audience to inspire a sing-along
After seven years away, the synth-pop return of a great Scottish songwriter
Despite an ill-balanced sound, the Mancunian orchestral/house music mash-up kicks off
The ABC mastermind on how he got his mojo back and finally made 'The Lexicon of Love II'
Richard Fearless returns with a minimalist electronica masterpiece
The latest eclectic global radio show starring Trinidadian legend Calypso Rose
Snazzy but fans-only 20th-anniversary reissue of ‘Everything Must Go’
Restless experimentalist creates sublimely novel electro-acoustic blend
Festival curator delivers her personal mix of contemplative electronica