The return of the year! Maybe of the decade also! Yes, I am talking about the legendary Alice In Chains, a band that hadn’t recorded a new full length release since 1996. A band stricken by problems and fate, as charismatic vocalist Layne Staley, the trademark of the band back in the past, passed away in April of 2002, due to a mixture of heroin and cocaine. Yes, he never was clean from drugs, but his voice was much cleaner than his personality in many ways.

The year is 2009, we are reaching its end in a while and the remained ones from the classic line – up, joined forces with new vocalist William DuVall, a guy that does really great work here. It is very difficult to replace a man like Staley, not only vocalwise, but also as a personality. Well, the rookie does more than good, and is a wild card in the machinery of the band. This is the most personal album of the American supergroup. It is obvious that the spirit of Layne is still somewhere inside the tracks, as if he never left this world. They haven’t still surpassed his loss and i think it is most certain that they never will. To sound like Alice In Chains, was more difficult than expected. But for good, they made it seem so easy. This is the first big success, as from the initial notes of ”All Secrets Known”, the first reaction is: ”Yes, they are back! As if they never have put the band into the ice.” Tracks like ”Check My Brain”, or ”A Looking In View”, prove that AIC not only returned, but they can still offer some memorable tracks that will become classics in the near future.

Durations vary from four to seven minutes, the album takes you to a deep journey into your memories, either happy or bitter, depending your current mood. Nostalgic moments fill you while the atmosphere of their music grabs you for real, but you don’t really want to escape. It seems like you are left in it’s embrace. While the last track, the title track begins, you can’t help but feeling that there is a soul somewhere smiling at you. We all know whose soul this is. Elton John also contributes to this track, making the ending of the album really emotional.

Alice In Chains didn’t release the new ”Dirt”. That was not their purpose. If the point was to show that they are still alive and have a lot to offer, then they did it with such ease, that it seems like a triumph. They beat their personal demons, they clean theirselves and they give their way from black (losses, problems, personal lives) to blue (bright future, new success, new fans, showing that they are here among us). Definitely one of the most honest comebacks, in their most noncommercial and personal sounding release to date.

Track List Line Up
01. All Secrets Known
02. Check My Brain
03. Last of My Kind
04. Your Decision
05. A Looking in View
06. When the Sun Rose Again
07. Acid Bubble
08. Lessons Learned
09. Take Her Out
10. Private Hell
11. Black Gives Way to Blue
Jerry Cantrell – lead guitar, vocals
William DuVall – vocals, rhythm guitar
Mike Inez – bass guitar
Sean Kinney – drums