Thursday, July 02, 2009

Song Review: Alice in Chains - A Looking in View

I've listened to the new Alice in Chains track a few times now since the band announced yesterday it was available on their website. Alice in Chains has always been a very hit or miss band for me, their inconsistency due, no doubt, to having a partnership built on creative tension where one of the partners was on some pretty serious drugs, but I have felt enough of a connection in the past to give their new incarnation a shot.

The new song, a seven minute track called "A Looking in View" has a lot of the pieces of a Dirt-era track: a heavy, almost doomy riff that would fit in with songs like "Rain When I Die" while evoking some of metal's more recent developments; vocal harmonies that have more than a hint of Layne without completely disguising new vocalist DuVall's more nasal tones; a sense of desperation to the lyrics and the melodies that sharpens to a hook for the chorus. It's a good track, but while listening I find myself wondering it "A Looking in View" would stand out if it didn't have the band's famous name to back it up...until I get to the end of the song. For the last minute and a half or so, the guitar, drums, and bass shamble forward like a dying man one step into the grave and Cantrell and DuVall's voices tune to dissonant harmonies that moan like spirits of the damned, calling the dead man home. It's a ear grabbing dark place that Alice in Chains have only managed to really channel into their music on a few occasions in their career, but if they've found a way to do so consistently on their upcoming album, the results should be extraordinary.

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