Spin - p.72
"Alice in Chains still have an appealingly outcast aura on their first studio album in 14 years."
Billboard (p.84) - "The droning 'Private Hell' takes the listener into a trance-like state, while the album-closing title track is a salute to Stanley that features Elton John on piano."
Q (Magazine) - p.1164 stars out of 5
-- "[T]he quartet sound reborn, with new vocalist William DuVall's eerie melodies perfectly complimenting Jerry Cantrell's lead-bottomed riffs. A stunning return."
Personnel: Stevie Blacke (strings).
Audio Mixer: Randy Staub .
Recording information: Henson Studios, Los Angeles, CA; Studio 606, Northridge, CA.
When Layne Staley died from a drug overdose in 2002, it had already been several years since most Alice in Chains fans stopped hoping for a new album. The singer had become a recluse since the late-'90s, and there was little indication that AIC would ever again produce much in the way of new music. As a result, when the remaining members reunited to release BLACK GIVES WAY TO BLUE in 2009, expectations were low. To the delight of all however, the album proved to be perhaps the Seattle combo's most energetic and consistent effort since its masterpiece DIRT. Perhaps the most surprising element of the new record was how much it sounded exactly like Alice in Chains. While new singer William DuVall was not an exact Staley soundalike, he managed to evoke both the unique timbre and sense of deep angst that were the late vocalist's trademarks. Throughout, the sound is heavier and sturdier than ever before, with songs like the first single "A Looking In View" and "Check My Brain" borrowing a bit from the nu-metal bands Alice in Chains inspired, and beating the upstarts at their own game.