Alice in Chains - Black Gives Way to Blue
We opened this crazy day with the album "Dirt" by "Alice in Chains", but it is only natural that we end it in a crazy circle with the union album "Black Gives Way to Blue", the band's fourth album released on the same day, September 29, 2009, by a wide margin of 17 years from the album "Dirt".
The story of this album actually begins even before the death of Layne Staley, in 2000, when Jerry Cantrell met William DuVall in Los Angeles through a mutual friend.
Friendships were formed between the two, with Cantrell occasionally joining as a guest artist in Duvall's band "Comes with the Fall" performances, while Duvall and his band warmed up Cantrell in his solo performances to promote his album "Degradation Trip" in 2001 and 2002. In some cases, Duvall and his band also served as Cantrell's backing band, with William singing Layne's roles in "Alice in Chains" songs.
In February 2005, Alice's three friends returned to perform together for the first time, after almost 10 years. This was during a fundraising event for the tsunami victims. The three continued their momentum and went on tour with many varied guest singers, in order to celebrate their love of music, honor the memory of Layne Staley and remember the good old days.
In March 2006 Duvall joined the band on stage to perform the song "Rooster", the performance was perfect and paved the road to official membership in the band, with Alice continuing a short tour in America. These reunion shows gave the band an appetite to write and record new music, but at first, they thought it would not be appropriate to do so under Alice's name, but over time as they performed together and spent time together it already felt more right to them.
In October 2008, the band entered "Foo Fighters" "Studio 606" in California to record the album.
The band did not have a record company to accompany them at the time, so Jerry and Sean Kinney funded the recordings out of their own pockets. During the recordings, Layne Staley's mother visited the studio and gave the band her blessing. By then it was already clear to all the members that this project was going to bear the name of "Alice in Chains" and not any other.
Mystically the recording of the album ended on March 18, 2009, Jerry's birthday which is also the birthday of William Duvall's son.
The album was finally released on September 29, 2009, exactly on the same day that the masterpiece album "Dirt" was released, which is perhaps the most amazing piece signed by Staley, and should thus be seen as a kind of homage of the band to one of the greatest singers of our generation. Cantrell also wrote the theme song for the album as a tribute to Staley, in which Elton John plays the piano. Before writing the song, Jerry said that he suffered from a mysterious disease of migraines and exhaustion when the doctors were unable to detect the disease. Jerry believes that it is a psychological illness caused to him as a result of the great pain he experienced in the face of Layne's departure.
Four singles were released from the album.
The first single, "The Looking and View", heavy and dark, which talks about the difficulties of getting out of difficult moods, was released on June 30, 2009, even before the album was released.
About a month before the album's release, the second single "Check My Brain" was released, which tells of Cantrell's move from Seattle to Los Angeles in 2003, a move that was difficult for him as a Seattle native who lived there most of his life.
The revamped Alice also introduced its acoustic side with the third single “Your Decision” which also addresses the pain Jerry experienced after Staley’s death, dealing with it and the decision not to sink into it and choose life.
The amazing video clip for the fourth single "Lesson Learned" consisted of 6,000 still images, watch it here:
The album cover includes an illustration of a heart symbolizing the band's heartbreak over Staley's death. The entire album is also dedicated to his memory as it appears on the inside cover.
This album was nominated for two Grammy Awards and won the Album of the Year award from Revolver and Metal Storm magazines, and rightly so. But most of all, he has proven that the revamped lineup has a lot more to give and that it definitely deserves to continue to carry Layne Staley’s torch with pride.
True, this is no longer the same Alice, but it certainly honors the memory of Layne, who continues to live through it, and convincing proof of what we saw with our own eyes during the band's performances in Israel in 2019.
Listen to the album on: Spotify, Apple Music