There's a collision of feelings as you listen to this record and wonder where Alice In Chains would be if singer Layne Staley was alive and drug-free and how far they can now go with new vocalist William DuVall.
The happiness, anger, sadness and hope that reverberate through the listener make 'Black Gives Way to Blue' one of the most compelling hard rock albums of recent years, a brutally honest depiction of life at the bottom and the climb back up.
Fourteen years on from the band's last studio album, guitarist and main songwriter Jerry Cantrell shows that his ability to dredge the depths for riffs and then soar with the sweetest melodies is as sharp as on their nineties classics 'Dirt', 'Jar of Flies' and 'Sap'. And while Cantrell's singing dominates here, DuVall's performance on 'Last of My Kind' suggests that his best is yet to come.
A rare thing: a comeback that's worth your time.