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Can I for the record start this review by saying something completely immature and not of my age? I can? Sweet, ok here it goes: Alice In Chains is a band that gets my dick harder than a rock encased in concrete covered in steel first thing in the morning. There, I said it and I am serious, and for the record, I'm no homo, but I'm being as discreet as possible when talking about AiC because just for the mere simple fact that if it wasn't for these guys, I would not have gotten into metal or just music in general if I did not watch "Man In the Box" on MTV's Headbanger's Ball back in the early '90s. Yeah, that's when I was roughly 9/10 years old. I'm 30 now. That should tell you how AiC is not just to me, but to a lot of other people as THE one band that brought a rather sludgy-as-fuck doom metal sound and influence into the mainstream view. And they never once tried to slander that reputation. Even with the death of their vocalist Layne Stayley, they forged ahead with "Black Gives Way To Blue" and Jesus H. Christ....like LL Cool J said, don't call it a comeback, because these rock grandpas knocked me the fuck out with that album.
Now here we have the 2nd single for their upcoming album, "The Devil Brought Dinosaurs", and considering that this IS Alice In Chains we are discussing here, as a long-time fan I couldn't be happier. For one, it proves that "Black Gives Way To Blue" wasn't a fluke. I feel as if this was just the beginning, the beginning of a new-found darkness. "Stone", the song itself, is a total throwback to riffs we have heard before, but the way Layne manages to re-arrange them into something new is nothing short of genius. Henry Rollins even said that himself. That's major props coming from a guy like him, when you think about it. And not just Mr. Black Flag himself, but countless other musicians have noted and praised and given proper respect where respect is due.
Alice In Chains are a metal band. They are even smart enough to let fucking doom metal influences creep in unnoticed to the most diehard fan and THAT is the genius right there. For a band with those influences to be able to reach that many fans and audience members and not have them know about it...the cloak and dagger this band brings to the table IS praise-worthy considering the fact that a lot of butthurt metal fans always bitch about how mainstream metal/metal-influenced acts aren't metal enough. AIC are that band that's been underneath their noses the entire time and they don't even fucking know.
"Stone" starts out with a heavy throbbing bass line to where before the guitars kick in, you know it's going to be fucking heavy. And it is. The riffs...those 100 ton, heavy-as-shit, rockin', sludgy riffs knock you out like Mike Tyson. Then there are the harmonies and squealing wha's that only Jerry Cantrell can take you from heaviness to a feel of utter dread and despair in an anxiety-induced moment. William DuValll's harmonization with Jerry's vocals is more in front. Another thing that shines in this song is drummer Mike Inez's devastating skin-bashing. It's tight as fuck and naturally looses to where when he hits those drums, you could experience something of an erratic heartbeat. Last, but not least is Jerry's amazing and tasteful guitar solo. It reeks of epicness that is vintage-sounding, yet refreshing. He's definitely what you would call a guitar hero and one of the few that I give that title to.
All in all, it's Alice In Chains. It's nothing that I would say would blow you away or bum you out. This is a band that intends to stick around for a good while, and I'm happy with that. Not too many bands I know can fill that void of hard-hitting, dark, bleak, yet soulful grunge/metal/etc. music from the '90s like AiC could. The best thing is that they are a band that never turned their back on their fans and kept the core of their sound while moving forward with a refreshing sound. That's extremely difficult to do considering they lost a frontman/singer like Layne. I could go on and on, but you get the idea by now. Cannot wait 'til the new album drops.