In their 25 year existence, Alice in Chains have undergone quite a musical evolution.
From the dark days of playing mediocre glam metal, the rifftastic hard rock of Facelift, to the legendary Sabbath inspired doom rock of their next two full length albums (shielded behind the silly, imaginary media created grunge label), along with their unexpected two acoustic EPs released on the side, one could never really know what to expect from this group, and the fact that they have overhauled their sound to better fit in with the metal crowd whom they abandoned with the release of their 1992 EP Sap confirms this.
With 2009's comeback album "Black Gives Way to Blue" the evolution continued, instead of turning to the horrid "post-grunge" radio rock manure of bands like Foo Fighters, Nickelback and Creed (which was always a very real fear), Alice instead came back harder & darker then ever, with bone crushingly heavy doom/sludge tracks like "A Looking in View" mixed in with a few Facelift esque hard rock songs (Take Her Out, Check my Brain) and some acoustic alternative rock songs (Your Decision, When the Sun Rose Again). Well this song pretty much picks up right where "A Looking in View" left off.
The first thing you'll notice is this song displays Alice in Chains new found love of over the top heavy, downtuned guitars. The vocals of William DuVall, which many stuck in the past Layne Staley fanboys criticized on the last album, continue to carry the legacy of Layne well. Perhaps they may be a little more radio oriented then Layne's unique voice, but they are by no means bad.
This song reminds me quite a bit of the Tool song "Bottom" (a band people seem to like to compare to AIC a lot) in that both start off with a very heavy riff, slowly descend into a cathartic chorus with some quiet spots, which carries the rest of the song, before ending with another heavy riff.
Also of note is a killer guitar solo by Cantrell at around 3:50.
Overall this is a great doomy song, right up there with the stuff from "Dirt", perhaps even a little better. I wouldn't say it's pure doom metal or sludge metal since it still has some alternative elements from the old days, however it's dam close. One can only hope the new album delivers more songs like this.
Originally written for http://www.metal-archives.com/