One of the albums I’ve looked forward to most coming out this year was the new Alice In Chains album. Since the band released the single “The One You Know,” I’ve been all sorts of giddy about this album. As the band put out two more singles, “So Far Under” and “Never Fade,” my excitement only grew stronger. So, when Rainer Fog was finally released, it instantly hit a note with me. Not just because Alice In Chains is in my top two favorite bands of all time but, because this album is truly astonishing. Now three albums into their Mark II version of the band, Alice In Chains shows no signs of letting their fans down or losing their knack for making great music.
Rainer Fog is about as classic sounding Alice as it gets. The albums ten songs all fit perfectly and tug at your heart strings and hit you like the band did back in the 90’s. On this album, Jerry Cantrell has let Willam DuVall loose on more songs and it really is a welcome offering. Songs like the title track “Rainer Fog,” “Maybe,” So Far Under,” and “Never Fade” showcase what a tremendous vocalist William is and what he brings to the band. The latter two songs I just mentioned were written by William, though the chorus to “Never Fade” was written by Jerry. Other songs like “Red Giant,” “Drone,” “Fly” and “Deaf Ears Blind Eyes” are outstanding. They really show the growth and maturity of Jerry, Sean, Mike and William. Every song still sounds like Alice In Chains, only this time they stretched their wings out a bit more and added a few different vibes. For example, the song “Fly” has a bit of an almost country tinge to it. “Drone” is almost a Black Sabbath tribute in the way the song plays out. Closing out the album is “All I Am,” one of the most profound songs this incarnation of Alice has written. This song is a summation of not only the album but where the band is at this point.
Something I’d like to point out about this album is William’s contributions as a songwriter to this band. William has never tried to be Layne or to copy anything he’s done. William has always been himself and that has made this version of Alice In Chains into something more than a nostalgic act. This album really shows that. Not that Black Gives Way To Blue or The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here didn’t already show what Willam can do, it’s just that on Rainer Fog, William was truly able to leave his mark with the band. One other thing that often gets overlooked is how vital drummer Sean Kinney and bassist Mike Inez are to this band. They really help to shape the sound and style of the band. While Jerry often gets credit for all this, it’s a very important note to include Sean, Mike and now William.
Rainer Fog is an album for today just as much as it was for yesterday. Nothing about this album sounds dated or rehashed. It’s dynamic and full of everything you love about Alice In Chains. The production and engineering of Nick Raskulinecz and Paul Figueroa are top notch as always. They really nailed down the tones and style of Alice In Chains. The mix done by Joe Barresi is stellar. He really balanced the tones the right way just as the classic Alice albums did. Do yourself a favor and go pick this album up and play it loud. It’s worth your time and money.
Overall Rating: A
Alice In Chains- Rainer Fog: