Has it really been nearly a quarter century since Alice in Chains broke Seattle’s mainstream Grunge seal with “Man in the Box”? A lot has changed since that bluesy, metalized wail dominated Rock radio, the most obvious being the 2002 death of singer Layne Staley, whose drug issues long hampered the band’s evolution. In fact, 1992’s Dirt — a brooding, cinematically visceral record of significant emotional heft — marked the last time the quartet’s original lineup was in peak working order.
Yet here we are, 27 years after the band’s initial formation, and Alice in Chains is still out there, still dropping Metal-tinged Rock & Roll records. Guitarist Jerry Cantrell, the band’s driving creative force, wasn’t ready to call it a day when Staley went downhill in the late 1990s, reforming Alice in Chains with a new frontman, William DuVall, in 2005.
The band’s second post-Staley album, 2013’s The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here, is classic Alice — dark, guitar-driven Rock set apart by the expressive vocals of DuVall and Cantrell.
“The cool thing about making these records is that they’re always there, and that’s a blessing and a curse, because if you put out a turd, a lot of people are going to hear it,” Cantrell told Clash last year. “But I think we’ve done some pretty good work, and I’m actually proud of all of our records. The cool thing about each record is that they are all different. … And that’s a real trick that’s hard to pull off, to keep your sound intact but grow and do something new every time.”
ALICE IN CHAINS plays the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati's outdoor venue The Shoe on Saturday, May 17. Only a few tickets remain here .