Band: Alice in Chains
Album: Rainier Fog
Release Date: 24th August, 2018
Review by Sean
What can be said about Alice in Chains that hasn’t already been said? Absolutely one of the best bands to come from that whole grunge/stoner sound, and an inspiration to so many bands. And with this, only their sixth full studio album, they prove once again why they are, without doubt, one of the best bands on the planet.
From the off the album will feel like home to any AiC fan, the familiar tone and melodies feeling like stepping back into a warm memory, or putting on your old favourite t shirt and it fitting perfectly still. It has to be said, having now done main vocals on the same amount of albums as Layne (RIP) did, William DuVall has absolutely made that lead vocalist spot his own. His vocals pay tribute to Layne’s own unique style while not just being a carbon copy, and he melds so well with Jerry (Cantrell, lead guitar/backing vocals) That you’d think the band had never had another vocalist at all.
Everything blends so well, mixing that earlier pioneering sound with a harder, heavier edge that you can’t help but love. As someone who loved the previous album (The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here), it carries on so well from where that one left off with a well polished edge that isn’t too overly done.
Particular highlights for me are ‘Red Giant’, ‘Drone’, ‘Deaf Ears, Blind Eyes’, and ‘So Far Under’, and I’ll talk more about these four below, but the whole album is just phenomenal. From start to finish it is absolutely Alice in Chains at the top of their game, and honestly, in a year of amazing music, it’s going to be hard to top this.
But, to those aforementioned songs. ‘Red Giant’ gets a special mention because honestly, it doesn’t sound like your typical AiC track. Oh sure, the familiar vocal styles are there, but musically, it’s just a bit different. There’s a crunch to the guitars, and it sounds a bit more twisted than most tracks.
‘Drone’ gets a mention because it’s a proper stoner classic. It’s old school AiC to a T. The stuttering rhythms, the slight whine in the vocals, the fact your brain feels ‘foggy’ just listening to it, it’s all there, and is my favourite on the album.
‘Deaf Ears, Blind Eyes’ is a track that in talking to another fan of the band, made them cry. It’s lyrically sad, as with a number of tracks the band have come up with, but this one cuts deeper. The guitars are at their most depressing here, and it definitely fits the theme of the song, the lyrics more than matching. A depressive look into the minds of people struggling with life.
And the final pick of mine, ‘So Far Under’, a classic AiC track. Could EASILY fit in on ‘Dirt’ or ‘Facelift’, as amazing as those albums were. It’s also the closest thing on this album to my own favourite AiC track of all time (Phantom Limb), so bonus points there.
On the whole, this is an album that’ll be getting a lot of play in my house over the coming months, And I urge you all to do the same.
Album of the year contender for sure.
01. The One You Know
02. Rainier Fog
03. Red Giant
06. Deaf Ears Blind Eyes
08. So Far Under
09. Never Fade
10. All I Am
Visit the band on Facebook: www.facebook.com/aliceinchains
Official website: www.aliceinchains.com