Alice in Chains - The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here

Posted on Wednesday, June 12, 2013

I always wrestle with the notion of reviewing my guilty mainstream pleasures within the pages of Metal Curse. Ultimately I should be writing about what interests me, and a band that actually gives you a little storyline to work with only makes the temptation greater. But do major label acts really need exposure from underground-dedicated webzines? Well… maybe. This is the digital age (sad face) and exposure is a somewhat outmoded concept. My right ball has a Twitter account with 60 followers, and most “people” only “listen” to music for about 90 seconds at a time on their soul-devouring smartphones anyway (sad face w/tear). With AiC, the decision is much easier to go through with. Whether they admit it or not, most Metalheads love them, and compared to the plethora of Retro-Rock bands currently being signed in the wake of Ghost’s success, what AiC is doing these days sounds like fucking Bolt Thrower! Speaking of Ghost, it’s time I gave producer Nick Raskulinecz a round of applause. He’s been a busy beaver of late. Twiddling the knobs for recent masterworks by Deftones, Papa Emeritus & Co., and now this legendary Seattle outfit, it’s easy to take for granted how naturally fantastic everything this guy touches sounds. Job well done. As for The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, it’s a nearly flawless hour of gloom. All skeptics —myself included— who cringed at the thought of AiC minus the late, great Layne Staley were firmly silenced by 2009’s Black Gives Way to Blue. Downcast hook-laden hits like “A Looking in View,” “Check My Brain,” and “Your Decision” were too good to resist, and the LP turned out to be roughly 80/20 Cantrell/DuVall in the vocal department anyhow. The same holds true for their 2nd post-Staley output, except it’s an even better overall record. There’s no filler here whatsoever. Some songs may feel a bit longer than others —all but 2 of the 12 tracks eclipse the 5-minute mark— but the album as a whole achieves a deeper darkness than its predecessor. Dreary gems like “Hollow,” “Pretty Done,” and “Voices” might be the closest thing to Doom you’ll ever hear on FM airwaves in the Midwest (old Black Sabbath jams notwithstanding). Slow, hard, and dolorously dour —with riffs for the air guitar ages and frequently witty lyrical genius— this album has an ever-present “too old, too cold” vibe that resonates all too well with yours truly more and more everyday. These days I find music most enjoyable alone in the dark with all my vices at hand. Dinosaurs is just as suitable a companion for such evenings as any Extreme Metal recording you’d care to put it up against.

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