Alice in Chains - Rainier Fog

Alice in Chains
Rainier Fog

Hey do you remember grunge music? Rock? Well Alice in Chains sure hope you do because they are back with their sixth studio album Raineir Fog. It is dripping with 90s alt-rock from the very first note, almost like no time has passed what so ever. The aggression is certainly turned up on this album, reaching some kind of early 200s Nu-Metal kind of vibe. Imagine Stained or Disturbed but without the inclination to scream. The thing is, Alice in Chains likely inspired those other bands to begin with so it's hard to determine who actually has ownership of this sound. The fact still remains that in 2018 nothing could sound further from hip. Listening to this album songs like "Fly" with it's odd underwater guitar distortion really fucking sucks and sounds old as all hell. You can just imagine the men in their mid forties really getting a kick out of this stuff, but this album is indistinguishable from anything else they've done. The band never really recovered from the death of front man Layne Staley who's vocals were really the driving force of the band. Like Chris Cornell Staley was able to take mediocre music and turn it into something special in their day, but minus that element Alice in Chains feel even more stale than they otherwise might have. Yet to be perfectly honest, stellar vocals wouldn't have rescued this album and his absence is not all that noticeable at this point.

The mood is so dank and heavy on this album, likely trying to recapture some of that grunge magic, but it falls totally flat. It's like the songs hit this one level and then just stay there for the whole track, maybe even the whole damn album. Sure the guitar riffs may sound a bit different, but they all land in the exact same way. I found myself having to pause this record and do something else because so muich of it was so similar. It sounds like one long songs that stays at one level almost the whole time. How was that ever going to be good? It's almost like the singer can only get the "Alice in Chains" sound if He is singing one super specific way, and He does it the entire time. "So Far Under" really sums it all up with this ridiculously heavy track and bleak lyrics that you only find in 13 year old Goths' diary. Wow what a slog Rainier Fog is, an absolute challenge to get through. Now if you're a Dad who still listens to Nevermind on a weekly basis this may be the record for you, for the rest of us, not so much.

2.0 out of 10


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