I know I’m in the minority here, but I did NOT like Alice In Chains’ 2009 comeback CD Black Gives Way To Blue. Music industry people practically tripped over each other in their collective attempts to herald it as the greatest thing since sliced bread. Me, I found it bloated and boring.
Which brings me to their latest opus, The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here. Having already heard (and not liking) “Hollow” and “Stone” prior to its release, I really wasn’t expecting much. Turns out, I was right.
The aforementioned songs, and “Pretty Done” are the first three tracks and are actually pretty forgettable. So, it isn’t until “Voices” that I get anything I remotely like. This song could easily fit alongside anything from the Jar of Flies masterpiece, and is the best song on this album. The title track, “Lab Monkey”, and “Low Ceiling” are also well done, though with each one clocking in at over five minutes, the band tends to overstay its welcome.
“Breath On a Window” is more of a rocking, uptempo song, and isn’t too bad, while “Scalpel” is another instant classic. “Phantom Limb” manages to churn out a slow grind, while still keeping things interesting, and heavy. “Hung On a Hook” made me wanna do that to myself, it’s so bad. My head hurts just writing about it. Closer “Choke” starts out like the cure for insomnia before picking up the pace towards the end, but that’s not enough to save it, or this record.
So what we wind up with is 12 songs and 67 minutes of music, at least half of it a forgettable, self-indulgent dronefest. But from everything I’ve read about this record today, you would think Jerry Cantrell and the boys cured disease and solved world hunger, the reviews are so glowing. I dunno, maybe it’s me, but I just don’t see it that way. At all. This is one I don’t see being in heavy rotation here.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Voices”, “Lab Monkey”, “Low Ceiling”, “Scalpel”