Alice In Chains – Black Gives Way To Blue (2009)
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About the Album
Black Gives Way to Blue is the fourth studio album by the American rock band Alice in Chains, released on September 29, 2009. It is their first record without singer Layne Staley, who died in 2002. It instead features new vocalist and rhythm guitarist William DuVall sharing vocal duties with lead guitarist/vocalist Jerry Cantrell, who sings lead vocals on most of the songs. It is the first Alice in Chains album released on Virgin Records and their first venture away from Columbia, who handled all of their previous releases. The album debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200, and was certified gold by the RIAA on May 26, 2010, with shipments exceeding 500,000 copies and has sold 1 million copies worldwide. The singles “Check My Brain” and “Your Decision” reached No. 1 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Tracks, while “Lesson Learned” reached No. 4 and “A Looking in View” peaked at No. 12. “Check My Brain” was also the band’s first #1 song on the Alternative Songs chart, and on the Hot Rock Songs chart, and it also reached No. 92 on Billboard’s Hot 100, becoming the band’s first single to appear on the chart. “Check My Brain” and “A Looking in View” were both nominated for the Grammy Award for “Best Hard Rock Performance”.
The span of nearly fourteen years between the self-titled album and Black Gives Way to Blue, marks the longest gap between studio albums in Alice in Chains’ career. The band reunited in early 2006, with DuVall as their new singer. By April 2007, Alice in Chains had been writing and demoing songs for the album, but the band did not show further signs of progress until October 2008, when they announced that they had begun recording with producer Nick Raskulinecz in the studio. The album was funded by guitarist/vocalist Jerry Cantrell and drummer Sean Kinney since the band didn’t have a record label at the time. The writing and recording process was completed on March 18, 2009, Jerry Cantrell’s 43rd birthday.
Musically, the album sees the band return to the heavy metal/hard rock style of Dirt and Facelift instead of the murky dark mood that their third album showcased with more grunge-fuzz pedal elements; some songs also have acoustic elements reminiscent of the band’s two acoustic EPs and also from their third full-length album. It also includes songs which Jerry Cantrell described as “the heaviest he’s ever written”.