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 Still, if their religious hang-ups sound a little outdated over here, at least they express themselves in true blunt AiC style: “The devil put dinosaurs here / Jesus don't like a queer.”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 7,000 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
Muscular blues-rock debut from Brighton duo
A still-challenging artefact from art-punk provocateurs
A soft delivery and deceptively conversational tone hide a powerful writer
Manic Street Preachers, Janelle Monáe and a past that’s always present at Finland’s memorable urban festival
One of the year’s prettiest albums from the quirky German-American
Long-lost indie prophets pop up to reward the faithful
Sparse compositions from Finnish songwriter's haunted pen
A multi-sensory experience, celebrating wild behaviour outdoors as much as the arts
A banquet of exquisitely related misery from undersung London outfit
Songs from the new album hold their own against the back catalogue
The critic's darling talks Birmingham, fame, books and why she's re-recorded her debut album
Anodyne French best-sellers attempt to export their success