Alice In Chains: The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here – Album Review
“The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here” seems to replicate much of the sound and style of their previous groundbreaking album; however the final product seems a bit diluted. It’s the band’s second LP since the 2002 death of singer Layne Staley. “Black Gives Way To Blue”, their first album as a regrouped quartet, was the official Alice In Chains reintroduction. In many ways they honored the memory of their previous albums, whilst making a statement that they are back with a bang.
Jerry Cantrell’s influence and creative direction is prominent, in what seems like a continuation from their previous efforts. The outfit’s musical path is without a doubt paying homage to Staley’s legacy, with another album carrying the distinctive Alice in Chains DNA. Despite their homogeneous approach, there are still more than a couple of surprises to keep your eardrums humming. The harmonious album is carried by excellent vocal mash-ups with Cantrell and fellow singer William DuVall. They prove to be a winning combo on tracks like “Hollow” and “Stone”. William DuVall received more airtime compared to the previous album however his placement can be better described as an “afterthought” at times. Considering his vocal performance in “Phantom Limb” and “Hung On A Hook”, it would be interesting to see him feature in the spotlight a bit more.
Most fans of the band will have been hearing the track “Hollow” for some time now. “Hollow” and “Pretty Done” serves as reminders why an album from this band will always be welcomed with disciplined and attacking riffs laced with dark vocal by DuVall and Cantrell. The title track is one of Alice in Chains’ most politicized songs to date. Lyrically they state “The devil put dinosaurs here, Jesus don’t like a queer, The devil put dinosaurs here, No problem with faith just fear”. Perhaps a dart at religious extremism in America, Christianity or both. Christianity is under fire again, strange to find that only one religion is always earmarked for ridicule?
The average track length on the album is approximately 5 minutes, which many consider a more progressive approach which is uncommon for the group’s instantly identifiable aesthetics. This approach is not necessarily a negative considering the group, instrumentally speaking, used plenty of crushing riffs and played more with layering their familiar sense of dread. That being said, most tracks could have been chopped in half, the result is an album that feels much longer than it ought to be.
Highlight tracks: “Hollow”, “Pretty Done”, “Stone”, “Voices”, “Phantom Limb” and “Hung on A Hook”
“The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here” finds itself a mere image of its predecessor, “Black Gives Way To Blue.” It might be unfair to compare “The Devil..” with “Black..” due to the massive undertaking that was laid upon their shoulders in 2009 and how well they have delivered the album. “Black..” will probably be the flagship album for many years to come. “The Devil..” did not venture beyond their usual artistic reach, however the album is without a doubt a must have for die-hard fans. Cantrell remains at the top of his game and managed to stick to the winning formula which is distinctly Alice. The album will most likely not win over new fans, however there is much to discover. I have to admit the album needs to be on replay for a day or two to completely capture your interest. Alice did however deliver a rock solid record.
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|5||“The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here”||06:38|
|8||“Breath on a Window”||05:18|
|11||“Hung on a Hook”||05:34|