12 Songs, 1 Hour 7 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

With the excellent 2009 comeback album Black Gives Way to Blue, Alice in Chains proved that it could go on without late singer Layne Staley. At the vocal mic, William DuVall is keeping the group's reputation strong. But with two solid solo albums, it's a not-so-secret ingredient—guitarist Jerry Cantrell—who illustrated his importance to the Alice in Chains sound. He writes the riffs and creates left-of-center harmonies that embody the group's unsettling vibe. The minor-key metal-to-grunge riffs and harmonies are most powerful on tracks such as the title song, "Hollow," and "Stone," with the band lightening up for the acoustic-lined "Voices" and the even more evenly paced "Scalpel," which sounds like the band's likeliest chance at a crossover hit. Producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Rush, Velvet Revolver) brings a grand soundfield into play, with guitars layered for maximum effect; it's perfect for listening on quality headphones. More than 20 years on, Alice in Chains stays true to its vision while remaining open to new ways of expressing dark visions.

EDITORS’ NOTES

With the excellent 2009 comeback album Black Gives Way to Blue, Alice in Chains proved that it could go on without late singer Layne Staley. At the vocal mic, William DuVall is keeping the group's reputation strong. But with two solid solo albums, it's a not-so-secret ingredient—guitarist Jerry Cantrell—who illustrated his importance to the Alice in Chains sound. He writes the riffs and creates left-of-center harmonies that embody the group's unsettling vibe. The minor-key metal-to-grunge riffs and harmonies are most powerful on tracks such as the title song, "Hollow," and "Stone," with the band lightening up for the acoustic-lined "Voices" and the even more evenly paced "Scalpel," which sounds like the band's likeliest chance at a crossover hit. Producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Rush, Velvet Revolver) brings a grand soundfield into play, with guitars layered for maximum effect; it's perfect for listening on quality headphones. More than 20 years on, Alice in Chains stays true to its vision while remaining open to new ways of expressing dark visions.

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