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Album Reviews : Alice In Chains – Rainier Fog

By on September 14, 2018

The truly great bands (in any genre) have an instantly recognisable sound. In my opinion, Alice In Chains is a truly great band that has been able to maintain a signature sound over a 28-year career. This feat is even more impressive when you consider that they have done so despite the loss of their original frontman Layne Stanley.

The fact I’m still talking about Layne Stanley some 16 years since his death is a mark of how great he was, but I don’t think anyone could have predicted how well William DuVall would step into his shoes.  Rainier Fog is DuVall’s 3rdalbum with Alice In Chains over a 9 year period, so he is well and truly part of the furniture at this stage. Whilst the band’s classic era will always remain their most vital, Black Gives Way to Blue, The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here and now Rainier Fog are all worthwhile additions to Alice In Chain’s legacy –  in my opinion there can be no more questions about whether Alice In Chains should or could have continued without Layne.

‘The One You Know’ opens the album in style. It’s a great opener and contains everything you want from an Alice In Chains track. An eerie heavy grove makes way for a hooky chorus’ which seems destined to be a live staple for years to come. Jerry Cantrell is an amazing songwriter, and his penchant for writing catchy tunes which aren’t predictable or cliché is second to none.  This observation could be used to describe most of the tracks on Rainier Fog – it’s an album full of hook-laden, melodic rock with a slightly melancholy, or even sinister undertone. I guess that’s been the appeal of Alice In Chains since day one.

10 tracks is a good length for an album and whilst tracks like ‘The One You Know’, ‘Fly’, ‘Maybe’, and ‘All I Am’ might be my personal highlights, the album flows particularly well, and is a good mix of heavier and lighter tracks. Cantrell’s guitar work and the duel vocals of DuVall and Cantrell are personal highlights throughout the release.

Rainer Fog is a fantastic collection of tracks, showcasing all of the elements that have made Alice In Chains what they are; Haunting harmonised vocals, Groovy riffs, sombre ballads, uplifting melodies and hooks, and Jerry Cantrell’s unique lead style.  Is it as good as their early work? Probably not, but it’s good enough to top Black Gives Way to Blue as the best post-Stanley album (no mean feat!), and certainly gets me excited about Alice in Chains again.

Band: Alice In Chains
Album: Rainer Fog
Year: 2018
Genre: Sludge Metal
Label: BMG
Origin: America


Chris is a long time metal enthusiast and advocate for Australian heavy music scene. Chris grew up in Perth, Western Australia and is a past member of modern melodeath act Let's Kill Uncle. Currently residing in London, UK.