(24 Aug 2018, BMG)
I purposely waited a while before tackling the review of this album. I kept hoping it would grow on me, but I’m still not a huge fan.
There are a few good tunes on the album. My favorite is “Maybe.” It starts off with those patented harmonized vocals and carries them all the way through the track. It’s weird because they don’t really give the song a heavy metal or hard rock feel, but more of a country vibe.
It seems so strange to put so much emphasis on one word, but I love the way they say “yeah,” in the chorus to that song. It reminds me of what Layne Staley did in “Grind.”
I also really like “Never Fade” which sounds unlike anything Alice have ever done. This probably has something to do with the influence of new(ish) singer William DuVall. This is his third album with the group but one of his first major songwriting contributions. And it’s about damn time! I really enjoyed the stuff from his previous band, Comes With The Fall, and have been waiting for him to contribute more to Alice in Chains.
“So Far Under” is great also for being unique. This one is solely written by DuVall, features his lead work and starts with the best riff on the album.
The title track is another standout that drives the album along. I think it should have been the opener. I’m guessing one of the things that killed enthusiasm about this record was the lead single “The One You Know.” It’s definitely not the track I would have picked to fill that role. I honestly think I would have liked it more if I’d gotten a vinyl copy and mistakenly started with side two.
“Fly” features some interesting guitar sounds unlike anything else in the Alice canon, but feels like too much of a departure for me. “Drone” is perhaps the best example of the term ‘Doom Metal’ on the album, which is both a positive and negative for the track.
In some ways, this is sad for me. This feels like the Alice in Chains album where they cement their status as the elder statesman and spend the rest of their career putting out mediocre albums with a few gems scattered here and there. Before this, I had to buy every album they put out, but the next one I might pass on.
Maybe that has something to do with the lack of enthusiasm surrounding it. I remember being pumped up when The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here came out because I was hearing songs on the radio and watching great videos on YouTube. There really wasn’t any of that with this one. I don’t even listen to rock radio much anymore. I tend to go for the mix station.
In some ways that makes me sad. I used to love modern rock, but it just doesn’t thrill me as much as it used to. It also makes me happy to know I’m still growing and exploring new things.
Just like Alice in Chains, hard rock will always be a part of my past, but will they be a part of my future?