Alice In Chains - The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here
Capitol Records Inc.
Grunge/Hard Rock
12 songs (1:07:16)
Release year: 2013
Alice In Chains, Capitol Records Inc.
Reviewed by Khelek

Ahh Alice In Chains. One of the first bands to give me an appreciation for the sound of grunge, and my favorite rock band from the 90s by a long shot. Their ability to continue coming up with new ideas, layering different elements into powerful, listenable songs is nearly unmatched in the mind of this reviewer. Guitarist and founding member Jerry Cantrell is one of the most talented songwriters of his generation, and he proves it once again on this record, Alice In Chains' fifth full-length. The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here is not a masterpiece that I can listen to endlessly, but it is another solid Chains release with a penchant for the dark side.

It's almost impossible to describe the sound of Alice In Chains without referencing their past due to the sheer number of influences they bring into their work. The best I can come up with at the moment is if Jethro Tull and Paradise Lost somehow got smashed together, the demented conglomeration might sound something like The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here. There are elements of gothic, but also a heavy dose of old-school blues rock, all melded together with massive riffs. Now, this album is certainly the slowest, heaviest the band has ever gone, and because of that not all of the songs jump out right away. Hollow is one that does. It starts things off with big, heavy riffs, bordering on sludge. The vocals of William DuVall sound eerily close to the late Layne Staley. It's a dark, haunting song that will stick right in your head. The rest of the album is similarly low-key, but it is by no means boring. Unlike the Chains' albums from the 90s, this does not contain many upbeat choruses or foot-stomping, head-banging moments. It's dark and melancholy, and I feel Alice In Chains without its original frontman should be that way. Voices sounds like a Jerry Cantrell solo song, his vocals and acoustic guitar lines standing out. The mix of acoustic and electric guitars creates excellent contrast. I like the eerie melody that starts the title track, but the chorus hasn't clicked with me. It seems dull and overly repetitive, but I can't put my finger on why. It took me a few listens before I connected with the downtuned chords of Lab Monkey and said to myself "Damn, this is a really good song!" Low Ceiling is one that I connected with right away, the tempo quicker, the riffing structure simple and powerful. This is an album that you can put on in the background and just have it be there. Albums like Facelift and Dirt forced you to listen, hit you in the face with every track right away. This album creeps around, eventually forces you into a dark corner, and proceeds to pummel you. My favorite track from the album is without a doubt the crushing Phantom Limb. Here we see the old blended with the new. The riffs jump out at you right from the beginning, but the pace is slow and relentless. Hung On A Hook slows the pace even more and Choke winds the album down very nicely, the calm mix of acoustic and electric guitars reminding me of Shame In You.

This album is not without its problems however. I was easily bored by Pretty Done, and I mentioned my lackluster reaction to the title track. Another thing with this album: it's quite long. Sixty-seven minutes is a lot of time to spend with one album, and I definitely didn't feel like all of it needed to be there. Were it 2-3 songs shorter, I think I actually would have enjoyed it more. I've never been able to say that about an Alice In Chains album before.

All in all there's not much more to say. Alice In Chains aren't going to release a sub-par album, it's that simple. This album speaks to the dedication of this band that has endured so much over the past two decades, and I look forward to listening to it for years to come.

Killing Songs :
Hollow, Voices, Lab Monkey, Phantom Limb, Choke
Khelek quoted 87 / 100
Other albums by Alice In Chains that we have reviewed:
Alice In Chains - Black Gives Way to Blue reviewed by Adam and quoted 90 / 100
Alice In Chains - Alice in Chains reviewed by Adam and quoted 89 / 100
Alice In Chains - Facelift reviewed by Goat and quoted 73 / 100
Alice In Chains - Jar Of Flies EP reviewed by Aleksie and quoted no quote
Alice In Chains - Dirt reviewed by Goat and quoted 87 / 100
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