Under The Influence #10: Tigerleech on “Black Gives Way to Blue” by Alice in Chains!
After a 14 year gap, 2009 saw the unlikely return of Alice In Chains with their fourth studio album “Black Gives Way To Blue”. After the death of the troubled Layne Staley in 2002 it seemed impossible but with Guitarist Jerry Cantrell putting aside his solo career to bring the band back with William DuVall bringing rhythm guitars and vocal sharing. DuVall had already been part of the band for 3 years before the album appeared which gave a chance for the fans to get used to his presence and for the new songs to take shape…
The modern production makes this album very different from what they were doing in the 90s. Even in the composition, I would say it’s less bluesy and much darker. This is amplified by the fact that most of the bpms are very low. But this is so well done that song after song we are captivated.
Instrumentally speaking, they show that it’s possible to be excellent without being overwhelmingly technical. Every instrument is doing what is necessary to serve the song and bring the desired atmosphere. There has been particularly a huge work with the guitar lines, since most of the songs are punctuated by weird guitar noises and leads that are adding a hypnotic and unhealthy feel. They do not hesitate either to add unexpected elements like the weird sound design intro of “Last of my kind” or even a piano on the album’s eponymous song.
The vocal lines are amazing. They are often harmonized by a second vocal line amplifying the hypnotic atmosphere of the songs. The synergy between Jerry Cantrell’s and William Duvall’s vocals is simply crazy.