Album Review: Alice in Chains- “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here.”

Writers tend to used a lot of recycled adjectives when discussing the music of Alice in Chains: grungy, grimy, sludgy, dark, harmonic…etc.  And it’s safe to say that all these overused, yet appropriate words still apply to the band’s newest material (and then some).

The Seattle legends have continued their post-90s “comeback” with a logical and bold next step in “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here.”

If 2009’s “Black Gives Way to Blue” was Alice in Chains’ healing process for their tragic past, then consider “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here” their first post-therapy breakthrough.  The album is far from nostalgic, but still manages to pay homage to the band’s roots.  Fans will find moments to reminisce the days of “Dirt” and “Facelift.”

New and old fans alike will mutually enjoy the pulsating palm mutes of “Hollow,” the bellowing main riff of “Stone,” and the chaotic arrangement of “Phantom Limb,” among many others.

Content-wise, Jerry Cantrell and company- at times- venture into territory never explored in-depth on past albums.  The best example of this is the album’s  title track, a tell-it-like-it-is evaluation of the overly-religious.   Cantrell’s songwriting also soars on the acoustic/electric balancing act of “Voices,” a song seemingly about helplessness and confusion that plays like “No Excuses” with attitude.

In general, the album succeeds in building an overall sense of thought-provoking emotion and anxiety, all while maintaining a confident, triumphant tone.  No song ever comes off as out-of-place or forced.

“The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here” is the quintessential modern Alice in Chains experience: rough, loud, beautiful, and more ambitious than ever.

All in all:

Standout Tracks: “Hollow,” “Stone,” “Voices,” “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here,” “Low Ceiling,” “Scalpel,” Phantom Limb”

Alice in Chains- “The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here:” 5/5

Song Review: Stone Temple Pilots- “Out of Time”

It’s been a confusing and pressing time for Stone Temple Pilots.  The band recently fired (and brought legal action against) their centerpiece lead singer, Scott Weiland and- to the surprise of many- quickly replaced him with Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington- an odd front man choice for a grunge-inspired alternative rock act.

Then, to make matters even more bizarre, the band’s remaining members went ahead and recorded brand new material with Bennington.  This has sparked a firestorm of various opinions within STP’s fanbase.

It’s interesting (to say the least), it’s- for some- tough to swallow, but regardless of how you perceive it, here it is:  “Out of Time.”

The song’s opening is pleasing- jamming onward with a bubbling Deleo brothers riff that seems to re-visit the momentum ignited on 2010’s self-titled effort.

However, Bennington’s contributions to the track quickly distort this euphoria.  Clearly, he has studied Weiland’s vocal mannerisms and phrasing to a T.  The result is something undeniably artificial.  This sticks out like cancer when plastered atop the song’s impressive instrumental coagulation.

Though the remaining members of STP were probably justified in firing Weiland and are brilliant musicians in their own regard, their decision to continue the band in its current state was an unwise one.

“Out of Time” is not a bad song, but it’s hard to listen to without imagining the perfection that could have been reached with Weiland on vocals.   Some will be able to look past this, but either way, Stone Temple Pilots have inevitably stained their consistency and legacy as a band.

Stone Temple Pilots- “Out of Time:” 2.5/5