CD review ALICE IN CHAINS ‘Rainier Fog’

(9/10) The moment Alice in Chains announces a new album is always exciting and one of those moments happened a few months ago. The band spread the word of ‘Rainier Fog’, the first album in a five years period. Finally, on August 24th, the album will be available and curiosity was rising. In the meantime I had the chance to listen to album several times and I must say that it was worth waiting.

‘Rainier Fog’ starts with ‘The One You Know’. The song was unveiled already in May this year and the fact that it was clicked so far 2.7 million times says it all. The tune is a great way to open the album. Jerry Cantrell provides an excellent riff for this song, reflecting the typical Alice In Chains sound. The song that has the potential of becoming addicted to is followed by the title track. The quartet slightly increases pace and it’s the hypnotic beat that makes ‘Rainier Fog’ to a next highlight on this 10 songs tracking list. The song and the album also show how well William DuVall is integrated. Being in the meantime part of the line-up for 12 years, it feels so natural listening to him and his great vocals.

Things get darker with ‘Red Giant’. Alice In Chains throttles pace again and put the focus on a heavy groove. The song slowly creeps into your mind before the half-acoustic ‘Fly’ unveils its beauty by a great melody. This touching song could have been easily part of the ‘Singles’ movie soundtrack and it would have been one of the better ones.

An intensive riff marks the beginning of ‘Drone’, a song that’s for sure not a light swinging one. Melancholy is what the tunes spreads over six and a half minutes. It’s a typical Alice In Chains track that unfolds its fascination after a few times of listening to it.

A good thing with ‘Rainer Fog’ is the fact that the album doesn’t know any weak spot. Regardless if you listen to the intensive ‘Dead Ears Blind Eyes’ or the acoustic ‘Maybe’, it’s great music you get offered by this delivery from Seattle’s icons in rock.

A song I really like on the album is ‘So Far Under’. It’s a slowly rolling one and it’s a bit unconventional too, at least in some parts. What fascinates with this track is the great and balanced interaction of all four musicians. Cantrell’s great riff, DuVall soulful vocals and the hard working rhythm section with Sean Kinney on drums and Mike Inez at bass guitar, it all goes together extremely well. Of course it goes for all the songs on the album, put it’s very present on this track.

‘Never Fade Away’ bridges over to the closer of the album. ‘All I Am’ is the title of the seven minutes finale furioso The song feels like a summary of all we got to hear before. It’s a big song that has some calmer parts and is kept in a moderate pace. The tune shows again the musical creativity that comes with this legendary quartet from Seattle. Mentioning the band’s hometown means also mentioning the fact that the album was recorded there. It’s the first time in 20 years that Alice In Chains recorded again in Seattle and I think you can hear it. Not only that the album title honors the rainy weather at the North West coast of the US, the band even went to the same studio they recorded their 1995 ‘Alice in Chains’ album, at that time known as the Bad Animals Studio. It feels like all this inspired the four guys even more to go back to their own musical roots. You can hear this foundation in each of the ten songs on ‘Rainier Fog’ so well.

Rainier Fog’ is an album that asks for attention. The first time I went through the album was while I was in the car. Not paying full attention to the tracks gave me in the beginning not a real ‘wow’. The second time I listened to the ten songs was via headphones and without any distraction. All of a sudden the songs unveiled some well-crafted details and twists. ‘Rainier Fog’ is a great new addition to Alice In Chains’ excellent discography. The level of quality the guys could maintain over all the years is impressive. It feels like the band evolves their sound over time. Alice In Chains was and is an excellent band that matured in all these years and that’s what’s reflected in their sound too. If you’re a fan of excellent rock music and/or if your musical imprinting happened during the grunge hype, ‘Rainier Fog’ is a pleasant way to spent time.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. The One You Know
  2. Rainier Fog
  3. Red Giant
  4. Fly
  5. Drone
  6. Deaf Ears Blind Eyes
  7. Maybe
  8. So Far Under
  9. Never Fade
  10. All I Am

 

Label: BMG/Warner Music

Genre: Grunge / Alternative Rock

Release Date EU: August 24th, 2018

 

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