Rating:
6.8
Alice In Chains - The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here
28 May 2013


01. Hollow
02. Pretty Done
03. Stone
04. Voices
05. The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here
06. Lab Monkey
07. Low Ceiling
08. Breath On A Window
09. Scalpel
10. Phantom Limb
11. Hung On A Hook
12. Choke


Vocal harmonies were and still are one of Alice In Chains' defining characteristics. They are featured throughout every track on The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, William DuVall's second album under the Alice In Chains moniker. Are there distinguishable differences between Layne Staley era and William DuVall era vocals? Sure. We heard similar differences on the band's last release, Black Gives Way To Blue. William DuVall predominately accompanies Jerry Cantrell with harmonies and only occasionally will you hear DuVall or Mr. Cantrell singing solo. Gone is that roaring, emotive croon of yesteryear. But, there is still a semi-hypnotic quality about the harmonies today. It's a quality that existed with the harmonies when Layne Staley was singing, and it's nice to hear that same quality carry over into the new era. You could say that William DuVall is a serviceable addition to the Alice In Chains legacy.

The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here careens effortlessly through riffs and occasional sing-along choruses with the support of said harmonies. Little variation in the vocal presentation on this album does leave things a bit stale by the close, however. Hypnotic as the harmonies are at times, the current amalgamation of the band relies on their presence so much that they condition numbness to their impact. This is a minor grievance, all things considered. The harmonies still really do have a presence about them that provide palpability to some of the thoughts on this album. A more relevant gripe with this album is the lack of focus on Jerry Cantrell's guitar solos. They certainly don't cut through the music like they have in the past. Like euphoric hurrahs, Jerry Cantrell's gripping, bluesy solos are essential in supporting the expression of those elusive, but relatable, imperfections that are so often voiced in AIC lyrics. Although, the lyrics on this record don't always strike with the same poignancy as they have in the past.

And thus, there are a few weak tracks present. The title track is a little dramatic and the final two tracks "Hung On A Hook" and "Choke" seem recycled by the album's close. Fortunately, there is a bit more going right on this album than wrong. "Hollow", "Stone," and "Phantom Limb" provide the necessary heaviness, with "Phantom Limb" being the closest you'll come to hearing a classic Jerry Cantrell solo. "Scalpel" and particularly "Voices" will have you singing along. "Voices" contains introspective and mildly depressive lyrics that you expect from Alice In Chains. The hypnotic tones coupled with the lyrics make "Voices" a homerun.

This album has some flaws. But, there are still moments that are at the very least redeemable. Fans of the band will likely find this album worthwhile.

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


Band profile: Alice In Chains
Album: The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here


 


written by Nosurper | 02.06.2013



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Jiri - 02.06.2013 at 04:12  
I haven't heard it yet; but I will agree with your review based on the singles and the overall ethos of what AIC has "evolved" into
RottingDeathHead - 02.06.2013 at 05:59  
The band died with its singer..
Rest In Piece Layne Staley
Diverge - 02.06.2013 at 06:50  
I agree with the sentiment of the review entirely, especially the notion that the harmonics became stale as the album went along. I would personally choose different highlight songs, but that's all personal taste-- it turns out I heard the album in a different order than the regular old CD version, so I can only imagine that affected my listen as well. Anyway, great review.
The Voyager - 02.06.2013 at 07:03  
Written by RottingDeathHead on 02.06.2013 at 05:59

The band died with its singer..
Rest In Piece Layne Staley


I think you mean peace, otherwise his rest wouldn't be too comfortable.
RottingDeathHead - 02.06.2013 at 07:29  
Written by The Voyager on 02.06.2013 at 07:03

Written by RottingDeathHead on 02.06.2013 at 05:59

The band died with its singer..
Rest In Piece Layne Staley


I think you mean peace, otherwise his rest wouldn't be too comfortable.

Honest mistake, I'm used to saying "Rest In Pieces"
S.K.Ø.M - 02.06.2013 at 08:50  
As much as I love Layne Staley vocals, but AiC is doing pretty good job since they reformed with Duvall, yeah they cant recreate their classic atmosphere, but IMO, The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, despite being little bit below BGWTB, still a solid album, with great musicianship, and way better than 90% of the music produced these days (metal or not metal)
Ace Frawley - 02.06.2013 at 11:38  
A bit surprised at the low rating and then reading the review, which seems a bit more glowing. As a fan of the original line-up back in the day, I have been very pleasantly surprised with how good the previous comeback album was and then this one. My personal rating has this closer to 8. My view is that "Phantom Limb" is the standout track. I also like the two singles released thus far. Not sure if this is as strong as the previous release but it's still great and as a fan of the band, I'm thrilled that they are still releasing solid albums and not destroying their legacy. Bravo Alice in Chains.
Unhealer - 02.06.2013 at 17:03  
Really, with that score I was expecting a harsher review similar to the one for Super Collider, but your words don't reflect that.
I really like the record, step down from the previous one but it's ok. I like Duvall and it's a shame that he and Cantrell don't get solo spots, but then again I think relying on harmonization is the best way to keep the Layne-or-nothing guys at bay.
D.T. Metal - 02.06.2013 at 17:07  
Written by Unhealer on 02.06.2013 at 17:03

Really, with that score I was expecting a harsher review similar to the one for Super Collider, but your words don't reflect that.

Agree.
Diverge - 03.06.2013 at 07:54  
Written by Ace Frawley on 02.06.2013 at 11:38

A bit surprised at the low rating and then reading the review, which seems a bit more glowing. As a fan of the original line-up back in the day, I have been very pleasantly surprised with how good the previous comeback album was and then this one. My personal rating has this closer to 8. My view is that "Phantom Limb" is the standout track. I also like the two singles released thus far. Not sure if this is as strong as the previous release but it's still great and as a fan of the band, I'm thrilled that they are still releasing solid albums and not destroying their legacy. Bravo Alice in Chains.


He's essentially saying that the record is above average, but not in the "very good" part of Metal Storm. His words about the harmonizing in particular are scathing, though, in case you still think his review seems entirely glowing. Frankly, the warm reception of this album across the Internet is super surprising to me-- relative to the other material with Duvall and their 90s masterpieces, this album is extremely boring and, dare I say, stale. I gave their comeback album a great score, but this one just doesn't stand up to it at all.
Ace Frawley - 03.06.2013 at 08:55  
Written by Diverge on 03.06.2013 at 07:54

He's essentially saying that the record is above average, but not in the "very good" part of Metal Storm. His words about the harmonizing in particular are scathing, though, in case you still think his review seems entirely glowing. Frankly, the warm reception of this album across the Internet is super surprising to me-- relative to the other material with Duvall and their 90s masterpieces, this album is extremely boring and, dare I say, stale. I gave their comeback album a great score, but this one just doesn't stand up to it at all.


Yep, fair enough with the interpretation of the rating. You're right, he didn't really like the vocal harmonising on the album, but I have no problems with it. We'll have to agree to disagree about the album being boring because I think there is plenty of merit and enjoyment to be had. I don't think there is anything stale about the track "Phantom Limb" and there are parts of that song that are unlike anything AiC have done before. It's difficult for a band like this to have a big impact now after all these years and after the big surprise of the comeback album in 2009. I concede that the album could seem a bit stale in this context but perhaps I'm what they call a fanboy? Doesn't worry me though, I love being a fanboy - of any band.
Diverge - 03.06.2013 at 13:19  
Written by Ace Frawley on 03.06.2013 at 08:55

Written by Diverge on 03.06.2013 at 07:54

He's essentially saying that the record is above average, but not in the "very good" part of Metal Storm. His words about the harmonizing in particular are scathing, though, in case you still think his review seems entirely glowing. Frankly, the warm reception of this album across the Internet is super surprising to me-- relative to the other material with Duvall and their 90s masterpieces, this album is extremely boring and, dare I say, stale. I gave their comeback album a great score, but this one just doesn't stand up to it at all.


Yep, fair enough with the interpretation of the rating. You're right, he didn't really like the vocal harmonising on the album, but I have no problems with it. We'll have to agree to disagree about the album being boring because I think there is plenty of merit and enjoyment to be had. I don't think there is anything stale about the track "Phantom Limb" and there are parts of that song that are unlike anything AiC have done before. It's difficult for a band like this to have a big impact now after all these years and after the big surprise of the comeback album in 2009. I concede that the album could seem a bit stale in this context but perhaps I'm what they call a fanboy? Doesn't worry me though, I love being a fanboy - of any band.

Haha no worries. I'm a fanboy of many different groups-- hell, I was a fanboy for AiC before this album, really, so I guess that's only why I'm disappointed nowadays! I'm hoping maybe repeated listens will help me find a few more merits here.
Papa_Ray - 03.06.2013 at 23:59  
I found this album to be slightly disappointing for the first few listens, especially considering how much I love Black Gives Way to Blue. However, repeated listens have really opened this album up to me. The ones I can't get out of my head lately are "Low Ceiling," "Phantom Limb," "Hung on a Hook," and "Choke." I strongly disagree that the last two are recycled. The album closes in fine style, IMO. I don't think it's as good as BGWTB, but it's still a fine piece of work.
TheBloodyNine - 05.06.2013 at 05:47  
I really started to appreciate this album after the second listen through. I picked it up yesterday and have listened to it maybe 6 times. I've been a fan of AiC since 1994 or so and I think that some of the songs on this album are as good as anything the band has ever put out. Very good album. I'd give it an 8.
Introspekrieg - 06.06.2013 at 22:29  
The title track is my favorite, so haunting.
Cunt_Destructor - 11.06.2013 at 10:34  
Written by RottingDeathHead on 02.06.2013 at 05:59

The band died with its singer..
Rest In Piece Layne Staley

---------------------------------------------

By no MEANS!!!! I really can't stand such words, as they have nothing in common with real state of things! The band has been alive, it is and it will be!
Great album, by the way!
effjay - 15.06.2013 at 03:36  
If you listen to the album 3 times and then read the lyrics while listening 2 more times it really becomes a great album. It might be my age but at 47yo I am the same age as most members of this band and TDPDH really clicks. If you take the time to let it absorb, it is so much better than what you see and hear on the surface. 4/5 stars.
JD - 15.06.2013 at 13:32  
Written by S.K.Ø.M on 02.06.2013 at 08:50

As much as I love Layne Staley vocals, but AiC is doing pretty good job since they reformed with Duvall, yeah they cant recreate their classic atmosphere, but IMO, The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, despite being little bit below BGWTB, still a solid album, with great musicianship, and way better than 90% of the music produced these days (metal or not metal)

Agreed.
Ace Frawley - 16.06.2013 at 00:11  
Written by effjay on 15.06.2013 at 03:36

If you listen to the album 3 times and then read the lyrics while listening 2 more times it really becomes a great album. It might be my age but at 47yo I am the same age as most members of this band and TDPDH really clicks. If you take the time to let it absorb, it is so much better than what you see and hear on the surface. 4/5 stars.


Good point. I really started to love this album after about the fourth or fifth listen through. I've probably played it at least twenty times now and it just gets better and better. I'm in the 40 club now as well - a new member and very proud to be!

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