Alice In Chains - Rainier Fog review



Reviewer:
7.0

89 users:
7.97
Band: Alice In Chains
Album: Rainier Fog
Release date: August 2018


01. The One You Know
02. Rainier Fog
03. Red Giant
04. Fly
05. Drone
06. Deaf Ears Blind Eyes
07. Maybe
08. So Far Under
09. Never Fade
10. All I Am


Nothing Alice In Chains has released or will release after their reunion will come close to being as good as their pre-breakup stuff. Nobody expects a new Alice In Chains album to hold a candle to Dirt. Now that we got that out of the way, let's try to look at Rainier Fog through its own merits.

We're getting roughly to the point where there's as much post-reunion material as there is pre-reunion. At least as far as studio albums are concerned, we're at that point already. Now they've come back to grunge Mecca of Seattle to record this new album. And with a stable lineup and sound, it's quite clear that Alice In Chains are still on the border between creating their own identity as different from being a legacy band and just that. And with The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here being slightly less critically successful than Black Gives Way To Blue, where does Rainier Fog stand?

I hope you like vocal harmonies, because, as with the previous records, there's plenty of those. And they work really well, but they're used so much that it becomes stagnant to a point and I wish we'd have more moments to hear either just DuVall or Cantrell shine. With this approach, the voices of both blend in well with each other, but this makes them quite indistinguishable and lacking a vital feel of personality. This was an issue as well on the previous two albums, and the band isn't breaking any new ground here; joining the harmonies are the droning guitars and Cantrell's signature guitar solos.

What makes this album somewhat different from its predecessors is that it sheds a bit of the lightness that they had. Remnants of it are of course still at large, like on "Fly" or "Maybe", but the doom metal undertones that they always had creep more and more to the surface, giving us songs like the opener, "The One You Know", "So Far Under" and the heaviest of all, "Drone". Rainier Fog is bleak and numb over its 50 minutes, even in its most dynamic moments. While I certainly appreciate bringing these undertones to the surface, Rainier Fog still suffers from a lack of memorability and a feeling of everything blending with itself.

For what it's worth, Rainier Fog is a good album, it sounds good and all, it makes a little effort to be different from its predecessor while also giving nods to the band's past, but Alice In Chains are just that: in chains. For a new Alice In Chains album to be great they have to choose whether to emulate their glory days or to find their own personality. A little more than a little effort.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 7
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Production: 7


 



Written on 01.09.2018 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments

Comments: 19   Visited by: 137 users
02.09.2018 - 00:20
musclassia
Pretty solid summary of it, it's fine and all, but I'm not going to find myself coming back to it often. Suprised you didn't single out All I Am - on my first listens, it was the one song other than Drone that made me stand up and pay attention
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02.09.2018 - 00:23
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by musclassia on 02.09.2018 at 00:20

Pretty solid summary of it, it's fine and all, but I'm not going to find myself coming back to it often. Suprised you didn't single out All I Am - on my first listens, it was the one song other than Drone that made me stand up and pay attention

I'm not sure I should admit it, but I was done writing the review by the time I got to All I Am

It wasn't my first listen or anything, just the one in which I wrote the review
----
Professor Isak Borg: And the punishment?
The Examiner: I don't know. The usual, I suppose.
Professor Isak Borg: The usual?
The Examiner: Loneliness.
Professor Isak Borg: Loneliness?
The Examiner: Precisely.
Professor Isak: Is there no mercy?
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02.09.2018 - 02:10
Lanthros
Sounds fair to me. They allways keep falling short of recapturing the magic. Everything is good and all just not great. I dont want to say its exclusively because of the lack of Laine but....
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02.09.2018 - 13:11
nikarg
Old Nick
They do have their own personality. They sound unique and are instantly recognisable. Of course, this does not necessarily mean their music is always good. It is more often than not though.
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02.09.2018 - 17:33
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Good album, but that's about it. Score somewhere between 6 and 7 seems to be about accurate. This is admittedly the first time I've actually listened to any of their post reunion material though, are there any albums from the Duvall era that are better than this, or would you say they're all about the same quality?
----
This is the water, and this is the well
Drink full and descend
The horse is the white of the eyes, and dark within
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02.09.2018 - 17:40
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Apothecary on 02.09.2018 at 17:33

Good album, but that's about it. Score somewhere between 6 and 7 seems to be about accurate. This is admittedly the first time I've actually listened to any of their post reunion material though, are there any albums from the Duvall era that are better than this, or would you say they're all about the same quality?

One is better, one is worst, neither by a noticeable margin
----
Professor Isak Borg: And the punishment?
The Examiner: I don't know. The usual, I suppose.
Professor Isak Borg: The usual?
The Examiner: Loneliness.
Professor Isak Borg: Loneliness?
The Examiner: Precisely.
Professor Isak: Is there no mercy?
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02.09.2018 - 22:41
Bad English
Masterchief
Does anybody still cares about this band. As some here in ms say IM, saxon must stop writing albums, be live band, I say this band must do this, even stop playing live
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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03.09.2018 - 22:05
BlankFile
It´s definitely a grower. Some of the songs of this record really become Alice in Chains instant classics. An improvement comparing to their previous release, wich was awsome aswell, but this one is even better. I love "Rainer Fog", "Red Giant", "Maybe", "Never Fade" and "All I Am". But the whole piece is splendid. Long live this amazing band.
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03.09.2018 - 22:10
Marcel Hubregtse
Grumpy Old Fuck
Written by Bad English on 02.09.2018 at 22:41

Does anybody still cares about this band. As some here in ms say IM, saxon must stop writing albums, be live band, I say this band must do this, even stop playing live


Difference is that this band wroites loads better music than Saxon or IM nowadays.
----
Member of the true crusade against European Flower Metal

Yesterday is dead and gone, tomorrow is out of sight
Dawn Crosby (r.i.p.)
05.04.1963 - 15.12.1996

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10.09.2018 - 19:12
Heart Collector
"Nothing Alice In Chains has released or will release after their reunion will come close to being as good as their pre-breakup stuff."

With all due respect, I'm glad that the reviewer has conveniently put this sentence at the beginning of his review, so he saved me the trouble of reading through the rest of it. This is inexplicably short-sighted, given the quality of albums that band has released since Layne's death. These albums are, in my opinion, more consistent and layered than Dirt and Alice In Chains and it takes quite a lot to come through what the surviving members came through and make this sort of effort to stay relevant while creating something fresh, without breaking clean off past era and respect they have for Layne and Mike Starr.

I feel sorry for their musical legacy at times because people will always be looking for them to simply repeat the sound they had on Dirt. I'm thankful that won't be happening any time soon (although I am and always will be desperate for them to try and find inspiration to record something similar to Sap and Jar Of Flies). This is not a band living off past glory and shoveling anything down their fans throats as a means to earn a few more quid. People forget this is not a bunch of angsty kids with a death wish looking to score drugs anymore. They are grown up men with wealth of emotional experience and songwriting skill, operating as a cohesive unit with a clear direction, releasing new music on their terms and that should be appreciated.

Although there is something of a pattern on last three albums in terms of their outline (brooding guitar sound, darker and heavier riffs, a crushing block of melancholy dropping in on the listener, a catchy couple of songs per album as singles, the rest longer than usually, a heart-wrenching ballad for a closer), I literally couldn't find a song that I don't return to or that I skip when listening to whole album at once. A personal taste, of course, not everyone will feel like it but this is coming from someone who literally refused to listen to Black Gives Way To Blue because of my conviction that it's a rehash of their old stuff and a way to profit from Layne's memory. I couldn't have been more wrong and I'm glad that I was able to admit my mistake. Whoever stumbles upon this, I hope they will pay attention and give this new iteration of the band a chance like I eventually did.
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10.09.2018 - 21:29
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Heart Collector on 10.09.2018 at 19:12

With all due respect, I'm glad that the reviewer has conveniently put this sentence at the beginning of his review, so he saved me the trouble of reading through the rest of it.[...]

With all due respect, I'm glad the commenter has conveniently put this sentence at the beginning of his comment, so he saved me the trouble of reading through the rest of it.
----
Professor Isak Borg: And the punishment?
The Examiner: I don't know. The usual, I suppose.
Professor Isak Borg: The usual?
The Examiner: Loneliness.
Professor Isak Borg: Loneliness?
The Examiner: Precisely.
Professor Isak: Is there no mercy?
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10.09.2018 - 22:47
Apothecary
PsyCHEdelic
Written by Heart Collector on 10.09.2018 at 19:12

With all due respect, I'm glad that the reviewer has conveniently put this sentence at the beginning of his review, so he saved me the trouble of reading through the rest of it.

Typing some lengthy comment you're probably looking for a response to but prefacing it with an implication that you didn't even bother to read all through a review to consider what the writer had to say isn't the best tactic, for future reference
----
This is the water, and this is the well
Drink full and descend
The horse is the white of the eyes, and dark within
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11.09.2018 - 09:52
Cynic Metalhead
Atrocious Virgin
Don't worry, Heart Collector. I read your full message. I'll tell you something - it is not worth reading.
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11.09.2018 - 11:00
Zaph
The Nothingth
Heart Collector made a good and well articulated point and I can see how that first sentence can give an impression that the reviewer didn't really give the album a chance. Ironically his comment also states he didn't give the review a chance, because if you read the rest you know that the reviewer gives the album a fair go.

"Nobody expects a new Alice In Chains album to hold a candle to Dirt. Now that we got that out of the way, let's try to look at Rainier Fog through its own merits."

That alone would have made a better introduction if you ask me.
----
And the tears that we will weep today
Will all be washed away
By the tears that we will weep again tomorrow
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11.09.2018 - 16:25
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Zaph on 11.09.2018 at 11:00

"Nobody expects a new Alice In Chains album to hold a candle to Dirt. Now that we got that out of the way, let's try to look at Rainier Fog through its own merits."

That alone would have made a better introduction if you ask me.

That's a fair point. I wouldn't have expected my first sentence to be a controversial one.
----
Professor Isak Borg: And the punishment?
The Examiner: I don't know. The usual, I suppose.
Professor Isak Borg: The usual?
The Examiner: Loneliness.
Professor Isak Borg: Loneliness?
The Examiner: Precisely.
Professor Isak: Is there no mercy?
Loading...
11.09.2018 - 16:33
Heart Collector
Written by Apothecary on 10.09.2018 at 22:47

Written by Heart Collector on 10.09.2018 at 19:12

With all due respect, I'm glad that the reviewer has conveniently put this sentence at the beginning of his review, so he saved me the trouble of reading through the rest of it.

Typing some lengthy comment you're probably looking for a response to but prefacing it with an implication that you didn't even bother to read all through a review to consider what the writer had to say isn't the best tactic, for future reference


You are right, I spoke out of turn and out of frustration. I don't have anything against the reviewer personally, nor was I trying to insult him or provoke a reaction (to be honest, I had expected that he would have ignored my comment), even though it turned out like that. My frustration was born out of cornucopia of similar comments, especially when it comes to older bands. I find Alice In Chains quite a bit different to majority of those older bands that made comebacks because I don't think I've heard one that offers this level of consistency, creativity and grit. For example, the likes of The Obsessed and Sleep have returned with fantastic, strong stuff but they are still just one-offs (hopefully they won't be but I'm not holding my breath on that). Maybe you can count Judas Priest there when it comes to Firepower as well but that's for another story.

Half of the comments I bump into are of "these old suckers have returned to squeeze a bit more money before heading out to retirement home" and/or "they will never live up to past glory" variety. Reviewer's opening statement was dismissive and of absolutist variety. For example, I think that Type O Negative are the biggest band of all time but it's my opinion, not the absolute truth, right? I find such statements offensive, especially as metal audience is different to any genre out there. In a sea of those bands who really look to squeeze money out of their fans, the likes of Alice In Chains are few and far between. All I'm saying is that we should be more appreciative and supportive of such bands, it's not easy coming through what they've come through and compose stuff they have been composing for past ten years.
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13.09.2018 - 05:19
Rage71
This is a great album. I just finished listening to it and I want to start again. The whole album is solid, but Red Giant is classic Alice, and All I Am is in a league of it's own. Its mesmerizing. I liked the review although in my opinion this album is better than their later work with Layne, especially the Alice in Chains album or the MTV album which kind of told us which direction Layne was sadly going. Even Jar of Flies to me wasn't that great other than the last 30 seconds of I Stay Away. Facelift, Dirt, and SAP were incredible, but the Duval era has produced some truly great music. Keep it coming.
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13.09.2018 - 07:12
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by Heart Collector on 11.09.2018 at 16:33

Half of the comments I bump into are of "these old suckers have returned to squeeze a bit more money before heading out to retirement home" and/or "they will never live up to past glory" variety. Reviewer's opening statement was dismissive and of absolutist variety.

I wasn't trying to completely dismiss post-reunion AiC nor call them sell-outs or anything. I'm glad they are still making music of considerable quality that isn't entirely a safe rehash. My opening statement was more about how ideally, Rainier Fog shouldn't be compared to their pre-reunion stuff since the band has been kinda trying to form its own separate identity since.

The rest of the review is a bit dismissive over issues like the overuse of vocal harmonies, the lack of memorability upon initial listen (this is subjective, I'm sure the album would grow on me with further listens) and the feeling of it being stuck between wanting to be its own thing and trying to live up to the legacy. I did praise the dark tone and the heavier parts, but all in all, I still feel there's unrealized potential if only AiC would either go way heavier or just stop emulating older days.
----
Professor Isak Borg: And the punishment?
The Examiner: I don't know. The usual, I suppose.
Professor Isak Borg: The usual?
The Examiner: Loneliness.
Professor Isak Borg: Loneliness?
The Examiner: Precisely.
Professor Isak: Is there no mercy?
Loading...
17.09.2018 - 20:04
Heart Collector
Written by RaduP on 13.09.2018 at 07:12

Written by Heart Collector on 11.09.2018 at 16:33

Half of the comments I bump into are of "these old suckers have returned to squeeze a bit more money before heading out to retirement home" and/or "they will never live up to past glory" variety. Reviewer's opening statement was dismissive and of absolutist variety.

I wasn't trying to completely dismiss post-reunion AiC nor call them sell-outs or anything. I'm glad they are still making music of considerable quality that isn't entirely a safe rehash. My opening statement was more about how ideally, Rainier Fog shouldn't be compared to their pre-reunion stuff since the band has been kinda trying to form its own separate identity since.

The rest of the review is a bit dismissive over issues like the overuse of vocal harmonies, the lack of memorability upon initial listen (this is subjective, I'm sure the album would grow on me with further listens) and the feeling of it being stuck between wanting to be its own thing and trying to live up to the legacy. I did praise the dark tone and the heavier parts, but all in all, I still feel there's unrealized potential if only AiC would either go way heavier or just stop emulating older days.


It's a matter of personal taste but the moments in which I hear similarities with older stuff are quite rare for me - maybe it's due to production of newer albums? On Drone, for example, those higher notes sound like they would be a perfect for Layne's vocals and I also thought that the opening riff in So Far Under sounded like something you'd have heard on their self-titled album. I'm very much enjoying the vocal harmonies, though, they are one of the main reasons why I got into AIC. I'm struggling to find bands in metal that use vocal harmonies in that manner, unfortunately.

I know that this iteration of the band isn't everyone's cup of tea but I sometimes feel they are being unfairly judged against their previous work. The only part of their "old" sound that I feel is lacking is their famous acoustic work. I feel they have enough heaviness in their newer work, especially considering their musical background and influences - maybe we just have different definitions of heavy but I also never felt their old material is heavier than their new.
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