Sound — 8
Masters. After a total of 23 years as a band Alice In Chains are masters at what they do. The album is faultless and maybe that is itself the album's only true fault. As they are now such a refined band it is a big wish to ask for anything as fun as "Nothin' Song" or "Iron Gland" ever again. What we are given is seventy minutes of hard rock sounds that I can imagine is going to transform into one heck of a live performance. Their previous effort "Black Gives Way to Blue" was one of the building blocks of creating this album, it established their sound post-Layne, loud, sludgey, and well polished; their first two singles "Hollow" and "Stone," two heavy precursors to the album also set up the sound of this album well, and "The Devil..." has brought it all together. This is not a quiet album. The presence of heavy guitar, bass, and drums remain throughout and dominate the album, You can hear Kinney's percussion sounds and Inez' bass sounds feed off the other's on tracks such as "Phantom Limb" however, the band make space for vocally softer songs like "Scalpel" which would sound wonderful performed acoustically.
Lyrics — 7
Lyrically the album is packed full of thought provoking lyrics ranging from the band's views on the unreasonably religious in the title track: "The problem with faith: Fear. Liar." to relationship breakups in "Choke": "Go then, if you don't feel right living in our home. Choking, eat your pride alone." The lyrics of the album at more times than not are puzzling, Cantrell's writing style on this album consists of metaphors too hard to decipher in the space of five minutes. It will take some time to get your head around all of the words, and whether you listen to the band for the words or the overall sound may decide whether you bother trying to find all of the meaning. DuVall finds his voice more on this album and boasts an impressive range Cantrell appears to feel more comfortable accompanying as backing vocalist, but not completely hiding away, as with "Black...," "The Devil..." shows that DuVall and Cantrell's voice's mix incredibly well together in the many vocal layered sections.
Overall Impression — 8
Possessing the new Alice In Chains album is a treat. Wrapped up in a see through red CD case the album art shows only the skull of a triceratops but when removed from the case two skulls are seen, the second mirroring the first and creating an image of the devil where the two cross over. The CD case acts as a viewing window of the whole album and encourages listener interactivity. Throughout this album I can definitely hear an influence from a lot of their previous works which is normal for a band. It is an album that took me by surprise in places. After a few listens "The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here" will be another part of an incredible discography of material. I think It will be an album which I will find more in ever time I listen to it. It has a different, heavier sound, but it is equally as worthy as any past material.