Alice in Chains | Rainier Fog | Album Review

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Five years after Alice In Chains’ last album released in 2013, their sixth album, Rainier Fog, made its release on Aug. 24. Illustrating the band’s deep-rooted past, the 10 tracks characteristically venture into the emotional turmoil of it, although surprisingly taking a more optimistic turn by letting the past go.

Hard guitars and persistent drums immediately thump through the first song, “The One You Know,” with moody vocals swiftly following suit. Jerry Cantrell sings, “Tell me, does it matter / If I’m still here, or I’m gone?” The song is a passionate introduction to the album, Cantrell and William DuVall’s voices fusing together in distinct harmony for lines such as, “I’m not the one you know,” an inevitable hook to keep people listening.   

The title track, “Rainier Fog,” is fast-paced and energetic, a tribute to the grunge-metal scene of Seattle that launched bands such as Alice In Chains among others. Complicit guitars play to the heavy drums, balancing the song effortlessly as Cantrell’s voice plays unwaveringly, determined to divulge the struggle with the past but powering through to the more optimistic future. With strumming guitars and Cantrell’s steady voice, the song slows to both a euphonic and reflective bridge before diving back in for the last couple verses.   

The last song of the album, “All I Am,” leaves a resonating impact after its seemingly quick seven minutes. The song plays raw and methodic, Cantrell’s voice piercing over the rhythmic droning of the guitars. For the more optimistic fit of the album, “All I Am” revisits the certainly dark places that still exist for the band, as the past can never truly be forgotten. 

Alice In Chains certainly has not lost the defining qualities in their music, but the change in optimism is refreshing and re-energizes the album, leaving no room for doubt that Alice In Chains is, “Rising through the Rainier Fog.”

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