According to Blabbermouth.net, Alice In Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell told Rolling Stone magazine at last month's Dimebash tribute in Los Angeles, the annual show in honor late guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, that the band is working on the follow-up to 2009's gold-certified "Black Gives Way To Blue", which debuted in the Top 10 of The Billboard 200 and scored multiple Grammy nominations.
"We started writing [in 2010]," Cantrell said. "[Then] I had shoulder surgery. I had to get some bone spurs and torn cartilage taken care of, so that put me back a little bit. But we've been writing through the whole process."
Following its self-titled record in 1995, the once-mighty Seattle-based act went into a long period of inactivity, partially due to the drug problems of singer Layne Staley. Staley died in 2002, but it was another four years until the three remaining members of the band, Jerry Cantrell, bassist Mike Inez and drummer Sean Kinney, first regrouped for a benefit show and then officially returned with new frontman William DuVall.
Alice In Chains recruited pop legend Elton John to contribute piano to "Black Gives Way To Blue"'s title track, which is written in tribute to Staley.
"That's just the universe lining up right. I had nothing to do with that other than asking," Cantrell told Rolling Stone. "What he is, beyond anything else, is a fucking amazing musician. And he's the guy who inspired me to start playing music, so to have him play on one of our records - especially such a meaningful record, where we're restarting our musical careers and saying goodbye and honoring our buddy - it's a tremendous thing."
Alice In Chains released "Black Gives Way To Blue" after a 14-year hiatus between full-length albums.
Cantrell said about that period, "It kind of grew into something a lot larger than we anticipated... To recreate ourselves without losing our identity and having the fans support us through that and have the quality of music come out like it did. Transitioning from the old lineup of the band and moving on, it was a lot. It's a career worth of changes in six, seven years. It's nice to have a second life and we're in the midst of that."
Professionally filmed video footage of Alice In Chains' entire November 12, 2011 concert at the Maquinaria Festival in Santiago, Chile can be seen below.