I have decided to edit my original review on this album, as I've listened to it a few more times since then and it's proven to be a real grower and not as weak as I initially thought it to be. Alice in Chains don't do bad albums and this continues that run. 'Hollow', 'Pretty Done' and 'Stone' are brilliant riff-heavy songs, 'Phantom Limb' and the title track are AIC at their haunting melodic best. There isn't a bad song on the album, but it'll probably take a few listens to really appreciate this - it did for me! Yet despite all the highs of this very good album I can't help but feel that there's something missing. The vocal delivery is quite similar in all songs but is executed very well by Jerry Cantrell and Duvall (who is mysteriously absent most of the time, at least as lead vocalist - seems to be in more of a backing vocals role). In reflection a very good album, perhaps suffering when comparing to the previous effort 'Black Gives Way To Blue' but a must for any AIC fan and a strong effort.
This album manages to follow what AIC did on Black Gives Way To Blue, yet they have evolved. Rarely any single vocal. Heavy sound yet songs that feel really slow - AIC create a sound landscape, they create atmosphere. Some great riffs, although not as memorable or prominent as on BGWTB.
The difference between TDPDH and BGWTB is that this album feels fuller, you really get a thick supply of sound whereas on BGWTB there was more space within the songs. Maybe, individually the songs on this album are not as strong as on BGWTB. Yet as an album, it is very coherent, it's got a great fluency to it and it just pulls you in. That's where I see the evolution. It's very engaging.
While this album might not reach the level of Dirt or Jar Of Flies it still manages to keep a high level of songwriting and musicianship from the band. While some tracks like Lab Monkey and Breath on a Window take a few listens to appreciate, there are also some really impressive tracks like the haunting title track, the doomy monster Hollow and the metallic juggernaut Phantom Limb. If I have one major complaint it is that William's vocals mostly just acompany Jerry`s. He is a very talented singer which he proved to me when I saw them live and the vocal harmonies while cool and chill inducing at times can get tiring in the long run. Give William some room Jerry! We all miss Layne but it's not sacrilege to let a new singer unlock his true potential.
As other reviewers pointed out, the new post-Layne AiC studio album has a less commercial, less heavy metal sound than its predecessor. It takes a few listens but what gradually emerges is a sound more reminiscent of old-school AiC, a more natural follow-up to `Dirt' and the album universally known among fans as `Tripod'. The new songs have a dirtier, grimier feel to them - less Metallica, more early 1990s. The unmistakable trademark AiC harmonies are still there, beautifully showcased in tracks like `Voices' and the title-track 'The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here'.
Although we know that this band will never be the same band we once knew and loved, this is a very good `rebooted' effort, and I am full of respect for the new singer, William DuVall, who respects Staley's legacy by embracing the AiC sound without ever mimicking Layne's style. "The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here' is a good album and certainly a `grower', and I am really looking forward to seeing this band playing it live this autumn.
I pre-ordered this album without high hopes, as I had heard Hollow and Stone, two songs I thought were not so special. Oddly, I don't find it so difficult to admit that this album is very boring. If I compare it to 'Black Gives Way...' it is not as imaginative, diverse or exciting. The songs (none of which stand out) are overwhelmed by dual vocals. I've enjoyed Alice in Chains since 1995. Their return in 2009 with 'Black Gives Way...' was fantastic. The album sounded inspired with wonderful songs, variation and enthusiasm. I hear no such qualities on 'The Devil...'. It's a shame as it puts much doubt in me that Alice will release anything from now as captivating as 'Dirt' or 'Jar of Flies'. I've given this album a chance... many times. Disappointing.
I am a massive Alice fan. I would regard Dirt as one of the best albums ever made let alone the best grunge albums. Unfortunately TDPDH is a very poor album. I agree that many of the songs sound the same and I would struggle to sing any back to you. With a running time of over a hour the album drags on and many of the songs are too long. Sometimes less is more. Also one or two of the weaker songs such as Pretty Done( A dull song with no hook) should have cut. I would rather be Hung on a Hook that be forced to listen to the vile song. The lyrics are boring and uninteresting and the hole album lacks any sole. I will say that Breath on a Window is quite melodic and Phantom Limb dose have a good riff but I can't see anyone listing to these songs in 20 years time.
If your completely new to Alice then buy Dirt and Facelife and ignore this bore fest!
I think this is great, it's like AIC, I feel at home, yet they`ve evolved and it's different from their other albums as I think it should be. You really cant make Dirt 2 . I really don't understand the critic all songs are the same - then you haven't listened,`instead I admire the fact they're all so different. But it's always like that with AIC, you must listened several times to them to fully appreciate them. To me that's a compliment, means they are more complex, not like a song you here once, love immediately and get bored to death the fifth time you hear it. Give them a chance... / Sophie