Customer Reviews


52 Reviews
5 star:
 (32)
4 star:
 (17)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New AIC fan is impressed
I am one of those music fans that follows 'rock family trees' so am constantly stepping backwards and finding new bands I like ... or at least experimenting with those I think I might. Sometimes I make a mistake, but this is certainly not the case with Alice in Chains: on the strength of one track on a compilation, I bought not just this album but also a triple pack...
Published on 10 Nov 2009 by Gary Atkins

versus
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A welcome return.
For fans there is a lot to enjoy, in terms of mood it's a bit like a 'best of b-sides' compilation, taken from their self-titled album - to Dirt- to Jar of Flies and Sap. But it's lacking. And here are two reasons why:

1. Duvall as singer is a smart choice. Whilst he does not have the vocal power or range of Layne, he does the job, sounds great with acoustic...
Published on 15 Oct 2009 by Gumption Brash


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New AIC fan is impressed, 10 Nov 2009
By 
Gary Atkins (Derbyshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Black Gives Way To Blue (Audio CD)
I am one of those music fans that follows 'rock family trees' so am constantly stepping backwards and finding new bands I like ... or at least experimenting with those I think I might. Sometimes I make a mistake, but this is certainly not the case with Alice in Chains: on the strength of one track on a compilation, I bought not just this album but also a triple pack containing three of their early albums (and there was a fair gap between those and their latest, let's be fair). Surprisingly, I find that I like all four. Their 2009 offering is certainly impressive and consistently good (there are no duff tracks here), so the passage of time certainly hasn't dulled their powers or ambition. The vocals (from the 'new guy') are strong, the rhythm section is full of driving power, and the guitar work runs the full gamut from hard rock riffs to melodic, almost balladic strains that pull at the heart-strings. Old fans will certainly be rewarded for the long wait, while this collection is as good a place as any for any potential new fans to start.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As heavy as ever, 5 Nov 2009
By 
J. Jenkins (Dudley Port, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Black Gives Way To Blue (Audio CD)
I've found the critical rehabilitation of Alice In Chains both bizarre and long overdue. Not that long ago they seemed to be considered a footnote of grunge, every mention of them either passing or derisory, (their loyal fanbase excepted of course). But their return with a new frontman and album seems to have been greeted with a response akin to the second coming. All of a sudden they are being hailed as legends.

They were always going to have a harder time with the critics than other Seattle bands. They lacked the crucial Subpop lineage, and their blend of glam metal, southern rock and Sabbath sludge was always going to be resolutely unfashionable. However, history has proved them a great band. A quick look at the pages of Kerrang! reveals a legion of downtuned doomongers influenced by them, while the legacy of bands like Nirvana seems much more preserved in aspic. Crucially, of course, albums like Dirt and Jar of Flies still sound every bit as good today as back then.

With Black Gives Way to Blue, they return pretty much without missing a beat, still sounding every bit like the band they were before. There are no concessions to the trends of the intervening years here, in the manner of say, Chinese Democracy. The blend of crushing, sludgy riffage, twisted harmonies and confessional darkness that they patented remains largely unchanged.

If anything, this is slightly more commercial sounding record, (although someone listening to a track like the multi-part, unhinged epic Acid Bubble may find this a slightly contentious statement). In particular, Check My Brain's massive chorus sounds made for the FM airwaves. Some of the extremely dark weirdness of their third album isn't really replicated here. There's a more inclusive vibe about this record, in the manner of an LP like the Manic Street Preachers' Everything Must Go, a throwing open of the doors to walk into the light after so much time on the dark side.

Of course, with a band like AIC this is relative. A Looking In View (which I took a while to warm up to) is a sustained channeling of the darkness they do so well, both gruelling and utterly gripping for it's seven minutes. Private Hell is as harrowing as anything from their earlier albums. But this is counterpointed by the hope and defiance of tracks like All Secrets Known and the positively tender tribute to Layne Staley on the title track.

The most damning thing you could say about new boy William Duvall is that he slips into the band's dynamic relatively unnoticed. He sounds quite a lot like Layne, but I'm not even sure he's singing on a lot of the tracks where Cantrell takes lead vocal. He certainly doesn't bring as much to the table lyrically; his Last of My Kind is a slightly generic 'organised religion is rubbish' rant next to Staley's unmatchable venom on God Am. But he's certainly not the disaster many must have feared, he's helped the band to a largely excellent comeback.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite classic AIC - But what a return!, 12 Jan 2010
By 
This review is from: Black Gives Way To Blue (Audio CD)
After a LONG break (14 years!) Alice in Chains have made a welcome return. As a fan since the heady days of Dirt and Facelift, I was a little concerned that sad passing of Layne Staley meant the band would never record again. However, AIC had other plans.
The introduction of William Duvall (who I had not heard of until he started working with AIC) has led to a new album, but not a new direction. As other reviewers have stated (better then I could), there are strains of the sounds that made them famous, with strong riffs and heavy undertones. Duvall does share the vocals really well with Jerry Cantrell, although he does not demonstrate the vocal range that we had with Layne. However, he is rarely given the chance to shine on this album. It's almost a tentative "toe-in-the-water" to see if the fans take to him. If so, then the next album may showcase his talent a little better.
Jerry, Mike and Sean seem to have lost none of their edge, and this album is brilliant in so many ways. Jerry shows the drive and energy that made AIC so distinctive in their early days. That said, his own sound is a little more prevalent. Some tracks would sit just as well in Jerrys solo albums as they do here.
The slower ballads, such as When the Sun rose again, are more akin to the Jar of Flies sound - which I love. The soft strings and coarse vocals seem to work beautifully, showing that AIC can still produce those wonderful melodies.
Although I would not say there are any really weak tracks, there are moments when you feel they have lost their way mid-song. The most obvious case is Acid Bubble. This track has a fantastic verse / chorus structure, but for no reason suddenly jumps up a few notches and becomes much heavier and we are "treated" to the lyrics "Intent obsolescence, built into the system" . Personally, I feel this ruins a stunning track.
Other tracks stand out for their sheer AIC brilliance - Check my Brain, Your Decision, A Looking in View and Black Gives Way to Blue really make this album one of the best of the year. Strangely, these tracks seem to be popular with almost every reviewer - surely we can't all be wrong?

If you have never given AIC a go, then this is a good place to start. It's not "classic" AIC, and never could be without the sensational vocal talent of Layne Staley. But although Dirt and Jar of Flies still remain my favourites, this is a great album, but not their greatest.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No need to be concerned, 21 Sep 2009
By 
Joky (Uk, North East) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Black Gives Way To Blue (Audio CD)
Having been a avid fan of AIC from their grunge days of the early-mid ninties, I was spectacle about this new album as i was concerned that Layne was irreplaceable. That remains true, however in DuVall they have great new singer who captures the AIC sound.

The album has a good mix of heavy and distinguished grooves intermixed with slower material. The slower material is more akin to acoustic "jar of flies" pace.

If you are a fan of AIC than you can buy this album in confidence, if you are a fan of dam good music you can also buy in confidence. If you are a fan of Girls Aloud then steer clear.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When the sun rose again..., 13 July 2011
By 
ratmonkey (Hardy Country) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Black Gives Way To Blue (Audio CD)
Not an immediately welcoming album and very much in the same vein as their debut, strangely, albeit far better. This is no classic as Dirt, Jar of Flies and the self-titled album but it comes in first over Facelift. And it has a different ambience to all other releases, most likely because of the change in dynamics coupled with the time elapsed since their last album. If you give BGWTB time it will nestle in your long-term memory, emitting melodies at random that you'll find yourself humming along to.

'All Secrets Known' is not the powerhouse starter that was expected. It's a good song but not really a great one. It revolves around a lazy, yet crunchy riff and kind of slithers an entrance, unlike 'Grind' or 'Them Bones'. 'Check My Brain' is faster but still lacks a certain punch that made a lot of their previous material so interesting. 'Last of My Kind' almost gets there but despite a heavy chorus it does tend to feel rather samey and, dare I say, safe. 'Your Decision' is a ballad of sorts that, again, sounds a bit hum-drum. It's nice, but no 'Nutshell'.

It's with the last 7 tracks where the band pull out the stops. 'A Looking in View' is excellent. Heavy, tuneful and with dark undertones, it feels like AIC. The ballad, 'When The Sun Rose Again' is my favourite track and is everything 'Your Decision' isn't: it's simple, melodic and passionate. Near perfect. 'Acid Bubble' is definitely AIC but it didn't excite me too much. It is a good track though and does a good job of changing key and tone. 'Lesson Learned' sounds boring on first listen but becomes one of the catchiest tracks the more it's played. Understated and quite brilliant. The same can be said of 'Take Her Out'. It doesn't sound like any great shakes but it finds a way to make you like it. And it does sound similar to 'Bleed the Freak' from their debut. 'Private Hell' is also near perfect and one of my favourites. It's dark yet beautiful and with a great chorus. The title track is another shock. It's the shortest track on the album and is a very simple acoustic ballad. And, as with most others here, it grows to become something quite brilliant.

There are 6 excellent tracks starting from track 5 onwards, and 5 ok to good tracks. Which isn't bad. It is no classic but it is no also-ran either. AIC are not back with a vengeance so much as they are just simply back to make some good music. Welcome home. We hope you stay for a long time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome back Alice, it's been too long!, 1 Oct 2009
This review is from: Black Gives Way To Blue (Audio CD)
Alice in Chains are back, with a big fat guitar sound backed by the best rhythm section in rock, searing harmony vocals, brilliant production and a host of dark melodies. But it is unmistakeably Alice - this isn't a Jerry Cantrell album with the old band, and equally it isn't a nostalgia-fest; there's a certain natural feel about the album, you feel that if they'd been around for the last 13 years, this would still have been the album they'd have produced.

It opens up big and powerful with "All Secrets Known", segues into "Check My Brain", a classic crawling Alice second-track (you know what I mean, it slots straight in with "Brush Away" and "Damn That River"), and in time finds its rhythm with some dark heavy rock and some delightfully melodic and winsome ballads, most notably "When the Sun Rose Again", my stand-out track of the album.

It's not perfect - the album feels one-paced at times, and a bit more switching between light and shade on the guitar in the heavier songs would have improved them. And I suspect that I'm not alone in feeling that William Duvall's voice could have been showcased a little more; his main role here appears to be as harmony to Jerry Cantrell's lead, when he is well capable of taking Layne's role as the searing heartfelt lead vocal. That said, it's the best album I've heard this year.

I can't make the UK dates, which is a real regret for me. Here's hoping they tag a few dates on at the end, or get to tour a follow-up album soon - very soon.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars same old sound, but better than ever, 27 Oct 2009
This review is from: Black Gives Way To Blue (Audio CD)
I didn't think Alice In Chains could top what they did in the old days, but this album proved me wrong. As some previous reviewers have said, the voice of Layne is still there, although now through the vocal cords of a different frontman. The music is still heavy and dark, so if it's classic AIC you're after, then this will do the job. Check out the riffs on 'Check My Brain' to see how much they HAVEN'T changed, yet still managed to produce an up-to date album. Favourite song? Has to be 'Your Decision', reminiscent of the 'Unplugged' album. Great CD. Been on 'repeat' on the stereo since I bought it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Album of the year 2009, 29 Sep 2009
By 
Mr. P. D. Sinnott (Leicester, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Black Gives Way To Blue (Audio CD)
Wow! What a record. Heavy as hell, brooding, haunting, melodic, soft...you name it has it. As much as I loved Laynes voice with this record you don't actually miss him. They basically sound the same. I think you realise that it is Jerry Cantrells voice singing just off the main vocal that gives them their signature haunting vocal sound. The new guy William sounds great as well though. Track 4 (Your Decison) is my favourite Alice in Chains song already, in the flavour of Jar of Flies. Acid Bubble turns from an Alice song into Black Sabbath, the riff is amazing...you half expect Ozzy to join in. Alice in Chains is not for everyone, however if they are your cup of tea, this is by far their most complete and best album to date. Welcome back.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jerry does it again - brilliant!, 6 Oct 2009
This review is from: Black Gives Way To Blue (Audio CD)
14 years since their last record and 7 years on from the tragic death of iconic frontman Layne Staley many people would've forgiven Alice in Chains for producing a dud. Those more familiar with Alice knew the band still had its most powerful weapon, Jerry Cantrell, and Cantrell hasn't lost his skill what so ever. His strength is not just his technical prowess (which is not of particular note for a successful rock musician) but his ability to write songs, songs that seemingly no one else can write, because this goes album goes to show that, though many pretenders have tried to emulate them over time, there is no other band on earth that sounds like Alice. What this results in is an honest sounding record. After a few listens the album started to resonate with me. There is enough vintage Alice in this record but there is a different feel. That is partly due to time changes in Cantrell, those who listened to his solo albums will find similarities between this record and those (though Black Gives Way to Blue is arguably a stronger effort). New singer William DuVall is a halfway house between Jerry and Layne's voice, so he fits right into the Alice dynamic. However, as the contrast between the 2 vocalists (William and Jerry) is not as great the harmonies are not as effective as the Jerry/Layne dynamics - but I'm being nit picky. The songs here are great, the pace is generally slow and haunting, fitting as much of the lyrical content deals with the loss of Staley. Check my Brain stands apart as a more radio friendly single, possibly the amazing Lesson Learned too, but most of the material sounds better in the context of the record. The electric songs here are great, Last of My Kind is particularly interesting as it gives DuVall his first Alice writing credits and the difference is noticeable. Mid song riff changes in All Secret Known and Acid Bubble are intriguing, though they work better in the former. Jerry's emphasis was clearly on the riffs and band dynamics withen a song so the guitar solos on the record are short and consise, I wouldn't mind hearing Jerry shred a little more, but again I'm being nitpicky. Where this album really excels for me is where Alice have always excelled for me: in the more acoustic numbers. It was where Alice's vocal harmonies were allowed to flourish and where Jerry could further illustrate his uniqueness - you've never heard acoustic material like this (apart from on other Alice records). My particular favourite is Your Decision, but When the Sun Rose Again is also a song of note. Album closer and title track, Black Gives Way to Blue, deserves a mention. Elton John's work on the keys fits in well. The song itself does an excellent job of closing an album from a band in mourning. Another dedication to Layne, the song illustrates the band's intentions not to forget or replace Layne but to continue on the legacy he helped builed. The song abruptly ends on the lyric "I'll remember you" : Layne's not been forgotten, but Black Gives Way to Blue sees Alice in Chains move forward while getting back to making fantastic records.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A welcome return., 15 Oct 2009
This review is from: Black Gives Way To Blue (Audio CD)
For fans there is a lot to enjoy, in terms of mood it's a bit like a 'best of b-sides' compilation, taken from their self-titled album - to Dirt- to Jar of Flies and Sap. But it's lacking. And here are two reasons why:

1. Duvall as singer is a smart choice. Whilst he does not have the vocal power or range of Layne, he does the job, sounds great with acoustic work and more importantly is able to harmonise with Cantrell to emulate that AIC sound - the only similarity to Layne. But it seems his role has been trimmed, understandable, but the songs suffer for it. Harmonies aside I would have loved to experience the similar rush when listening to Love Hate Love, Dirt, Nutshell, Down in the Hole, Rooster etc - all songs that complimented Layne's extraordinary vocal prowess with Cantrell's raw technical talent.

Duvall does have the creds.

It is time he took some time out of the comfort zone. He is no longer the 'go to guy' for gigs but the lead singer - it is time he step forward, and Cantrell should give him room to do so.

2. In terms of material there are some good songs, certainly better than Jerry's solo albums. The slower works especially are worthy of note, with their riffs and vocals. But the heavier stuff is pure Cantrell, who in my opinion needs a controlling dynamic to bring out his best. The songs lose their way and have none of the breakout guitar work that AIC used to capitalise on. They are just not strong enough to stand out.

But maybe that was never the intention. As a tribute to Layne, this album works. Hell, as an AIC album it works, and I look forward to more. The feel and temper of this piece incapsulates a renewed attitude that took more than a decade to reach, one of hope, after finally, hauntingly, saying goodbye.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 26 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Black Gives Way To Blue
Black Gives Way To Blue by Alice In Chains
Buy MP3 Album£4.99
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews