Alice In Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell releases his third solo album, his first since 2002! The album has a lighter touch than anything Cantrell has been involved in for some time. Opening track Atone has plenty of attitude. The title track Brighten is almost a little cock-rock but with a killer Alice-style chorus as Cantrell sings “you only reap what you sow”, sounding vaguely threatening.
Prism of Doubt is countrified, like some of the material on his Boggy Depot album way back when. It’s an upbeat rocker with equal touches of steel guitar, and strident, electric licks. This carries through to the steel guitar inflected strum Black Hearts and Evil Done. This one is very pleasant on the ears, with even a few touches of strings.
Standard Alice-style black hole Siren Song has a bit of Western life dust sprinkled over it with ominous bells and finger clicks. Those who prefer more rockier material are catered for here with Had To Know and Dismembered. The album ends, curiously, with a cover of the Elton John song, Goodbye (Not Goodbye Yellow Brick Road). This one is a sparse piano ballad, and Cantrell stays faithful to the original, with the addition of strings and a little guitar.
In truth a Jerry Cantrell solo album is a bit Alice-lite, it’s serviceable but there’s something missing, a metal crunch, and maybe William DuVall’s harmonies. This will tide the fans over till the next Alice In Chains album.