Sound — 10
While it has been fourteen years since their last studio album, the sound of Black Gives Way to Blue is pretty much the same dark sound as Alice In Chains's earlier albums, which is definitely a good thing: awesome riffs and extended solos on most tracks. The one track that stands out the most is the title track, Black Gives Way To Blue, (which, of course, is about the band's previous vocalist, the late and great Layne Stanley) as it features Elton John on piano.
Lyrics — 10
The lyrics, written almost entirely by guitarist Jerry Cantrell, deal mainly on depression, grief, and hope. An example, from the song Acid Bubble: "And I always paid attention to the lines you crossed Forgive this imperfection it shows, and know I am the child that lives and cries in a corner Dies in a corner" Vocalist William DuVall's voice complies well with Cantrell's and with the music. Fortunately, he makes a conscious effort not to imitate Stanley, which would have been a distasteful thing to do, yet he has a similar style.
Overall Impression — 10
The most impressive songs on this album, in my opinion, are the first single, Check My Brain, A Looking In View, Black Gives Way To Blue, and my personal favorite, Private Hell. I like the darkness and sadness of this album, as it is done in a mature way (not in an "emo" way), although this mood is not for everybody.