Black Gives Way To Blue (EMI/Virgin)
Guitarist Jerry Cantrell waited a respectful amount time to resurrect Alice in Chains, having buried lead singer Layne Staley in 2002 after one of the least surprising drug overdoses in rock history. Staley’s creative contribution to Chains died years earlier, which is one reason why this is the band’s first record in 14 years.
The elephant-in-the room question plaguing Black Gives Way To Blue is why Cantrell didn’t just take over the vocal duties himself. New singer William DuVall spends half his time replicating Staley’s nasal misanthropy and the other half buried by Cantrell’s vocals. Maybe on the next record Cantrell will allow DuVall a personality so the band can truly move beyond Staley’s spectre.
Top track: Last Of My Kind