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