Alice in Chains Returns, Bonds Unbroken

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Surely there are fanatics who can explain how exactly Alice in Chains has changed now that they’ve re-formed with a man named William DuVall singing and playing guitar. Indeed, reflecting on the single “A Looking In View” — which comes in advance of a late September release of Black Gives Way to Blue, and has a newly released video — one commenter on Rolling Stone’s web site wrote, “I think that’s the lowest number of drum notes in any AiC song ever … and it was a 7 minute song!” Rhythmic economy notwithstanding, it seems to us that the band has emerged — seven years after original frontman Lane Staley died of an overdose, and fourteen since they’ve had a new studio album — almost entirely unchanged. The black-molasses riffing and tortured singing are the musical equivalent of a familiar old drug high — it’ll never be like the first time, but boy are you glad to have it back. Still, if there’s anything stuck in our head right now, it’s this: “I’m the maaan … in the box.”