Alice in Chains – Rainier Fog – Album Review by Killian Laher
Alice in Chains release their first album in 5 years and their third since getting back together post-Layne Staley. These albums have re-established the band as a kind of “dark metal” outfit. Their music is not full-throated heavy metal, more metal grunge, if grunge is still a relevant term.
While the band has yet to recapture the glories achieved in the nineties, they have carved out a reasonable niche for themselves, helped by Jerry Cantrell and relative new boy William Duvall’s skewed harmonies. This album produces mixed results. Opener The One You Know is grinding metal riffs and little else, as is So Far Under. Drone overcomes some fairly lumpen riffs to hit hard with a strong chorus. Less successful are the generic sounding Deaf Ears Blind Eyes, and the throwaway, almost cock-rock Never Fade, a track full of bluster, huff and puff but little else.
On the credit side, the title track has an exciting, driving guitar riff. Red Giant is a strong mid album track, reminiscent of the murkier moments of Dirt. It also has to be said Cantrell and Duvall’s harmonies are almost as strong as Staley and Cantrell, with Maybe in particular benefiting. They even find time for more introspective moments. Fly is a borderline power ballad you could almost imagine Guns and Roses writing, yet it steers clear of melodrama to succeed against the odds. The brooding All I Am rounds off the album with grimly effective self-regarding.
If the band had reconstituted under a new name, this would be a decent if a little plodding metal album. But as an Alice in Chains album, while there are few missteps, there are no major highs either.
Track List –
1. The One You Know
2. Rainier Fog
3. Red Giant
6. Deaf Ears Blind Eyes
8. So Far Under
9. Never Fade
10. All I Am
The One You Know