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ALICE IN CHAINS, ANSO’S EARS: A LOVE AFFAIR RENEWED

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At the Golden Gods thing back in April, I really perked up when Alice In Chains’ Jerry Cantrell came down the press line. It was surprising and weird because I was not aware that his band remained significant to me. But there I was, rudely turning away from Zakk Wylde in mid-sentence to beam fanatically at Cantrell and bassist Mike Inez. The two seemed spot-lit and energetic; there was a sense of relief that the band had returned from the brink, and with a fucking awesome album to boot. I couldn’t take my eyes off them the whole night, not least of all during their innumerable trips to the stage to collect awards for Black Gives Way To Blue before a roomful of applause and well wishes. So deserved. Awesome.

This is a big turnaround for me after a decade of intense AIC fatigue, during which I suffered actual nausea from the harmonies of “Heaven Beside You,” and the opening chords of “Rooster” triggered an immediate lunge for the radio dial. (The latter is partially my fault, ‘cuz I remember a beer blast at which I stood guard over the stereo as that song stayed on repeat for like two hours.) I’ll never tire of Cantrell’s masterful solo in “Man In The Box” or the majesty of “Down In A Hole,” but otherwise it seemed that by 2000 we’d all gotten enough Alice In Chains for a lifetime. Not to mention the proliferate AIC clones complete with insta-Laynes — which really riled me cuz if anyone, it’s Cantrell whom a smart band would replicate. And, sadly, Staley himself was pretty much a super-bummer on two legs before long. Semi-consciously, I began to ignore their existence. Me and Alice In Chains were over. Such a great band, such a shame.

But, yes, some time apart and a tardiculous new album have healed the oft-rocky relationship between AIC and my ears. We’re back together, stronger than ever, and it’s no exagerration to state that I still can’t stop listening to BGW2B, a pop-doom metal masterpiece that finally brings some closure to the Staley situation (and it even impacted the new Soilwork record). Actually, I always think of Type O Negative’s Peter Steele when I hear the album’s big finale, “Private Hell.” Maybe you do, too.

-ADF

Alice In Chains embarks on the BlackDiamondSkye tour with Deftones and Mastodon starting September 16. Get dates here.

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