Alice In Chains - Black Gives Way To Blue
29 September 2009

01. All Secrets Known
02. Check My Brain
03. Last Of My Kind
04. Your Decision
05. A Looking In View
06. When The Sun Rose Again
07. Acid Bubble
08. Lesson Learned
09. Take Her Out
10. Private Hell
11. Black Gives Way To Blue

14 long years since their last release, 7 years after the death of half their creative drive, Layne Staley, and with new co-frontman / co-vocalist William DuVall, Alice In Chains return with the not quite brilliant, but still very strong album, Black Gives Way To Blue.

In short, I like it... I like it a lot. Black Gives Way To Blue is very different to its predecessor, the self-titled Alice In Chains that was a far more melancholic affair receiving mixed reviews upon its release. Black Gives Way To Blue still has elements of melancholy and it definitely has that dark and gloomy Alice In Chains sound, however there are undertones of an aggressive edge to this album, and a welcome edge in my opinion as Alice In Chains seemed to over-promise and under-deliver with its lackadaisical feeling. This aggression is highlighted in tracks "A Looking In View" and "Acid Bubble".

Black Gives Way To Blue is very balanced, and almost formulaic in its approach. You won't find anything that redefines music with this release; instead you'll just find good hard rock / grunge that is extremely well written. Beautiful melodies (particularly in "Your Decision" and "Black Gives Way To Blue"), chunky riffs, purposeful solos and catchy choruses all work with each other in a way that is both effortless and accessible. The vocal harmonising done between Jerry Cantrell and William DuVall also works exceptionally well, which was a key element to Alice In Chains' success through Jerry Cantrell and Layne Staley, and something that could've gone horribly wrong here. I can only assume that part of the reason why William DuVall was accepted into the band was due to this harmonising ability.

Finally, the guest appearance by Elton John on the title track performing piano was an interesting appearance, but one that just fits in with the rest of the album, and ends it with such thoughtfulness and splendour.

I take my hat off to Alice In Chains, firstly for reforming and allowing me the opportunity to see them live, and secondly for producing an album after such a long hiatus that deserves to stand proudly alongside, albeit at a slightly lower level (I'm thinking the bronze medallist here on a podium), with other Alice In Chains greats, Dirt and Jar of Flies and Sap. Black Gives Way To Blue is a truly solid album.

Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 7
Production: 9

Band profile: Alice In Chains
Album: Black Gives Way To Blue


written by Sonic MrSumo | 13.03.2012

Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


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Ace Frawley - 14.03.2012 at 00:10  
Well-written review. I agree for the most part. I really enjoyed this album when it came out and was very surprised at how good it was. I was a huge Alice in Chains fan back when they released their first three albums and was sceptical when I saw they had a new album after all these years. In all honesty, I was blown away by how good it was and how similar it was to the sound of their previous albums - especially considering Layne Staley was no longer on vocals.
Sonic MrSumo - 14.03.2012 at 05:00  
Thanks mate. I think Jerry Cantrell wrote a lot of the music on this one. I prefer this a great deal more than his solo stuff, which was written shortly after Alice In Chains, and I didn't overly enjoy that either...perhaps that's why I didn't like his solo stuff.
RuiQuental - 16.03.2012 at 19:03  
In my opinion the Production is 10.
!J.O.O.E.! - 16.03.2012 at 19:09  
I think this album has an anachronistic charm, which could be considered a bad thing, however, I really like it though. Very solid and enjoyable album.
Nosurper - 17.03.2012 at 13:20  
Well said !J.O.O.E.!

From the cover art, to the music inside, this album is a misfit. Therefore, a solid addition to the AIC catalog.
Good review, good album.
BlankFile - 26.08.2016 at 19:41  
Very solid release. An amazing comeback, by one of the most important and relevant bands in the Grunge scene.

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