Losing two members to drug overdoses in quick succession would be enough to finish any band, but grunge survivors Alice In Chains made a credible comeback three years ago with new frontman William DuVall and Black Gives Way To Blue.
Their formula remains the same – pounding rhythms, menacing, sludgy guitars, dark lyrics (with song titles like Lab Monkey, Phantom Limb and Hung On A Hook) and harmonised vocals – but it's given a brighter finish this time, and they even pick up the tempo in numbers like Breath On A Window.
The rest is mostly anonymous and overlong (only two songs come in under the five-minute mark), epitomised by the pedestrian starting pair of Hollow and Pretty Done and the irreverent Gothic grind of the title track.
Cautious experimentation is good, but not when it gets lost in an arduous bigger picture.
Best tracks: Stone, Breath On A Window
- Reviews by Nick Ward; CDs for review from Everyman, Nelson.