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Story and Photos By Andy ArgyrakisEven if Alice In Chains was birthed out of the same Seattle scene that yielded Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, the group stretched well beyond the grunge world to incorporate numerous nods to classic metal. Though the group's material remains most readily associated with the early to middle 1990s, there's still plenty of life left within the aggressive outfit, thanks to a revitalized line-up, scorching new CD and sold out concert tour to match.
Given the untimely passing of Layne Staley in 2002, new singer William DuVall is now at the front of the fold, while the group's nucleus is rounded out by guitar god Jerry Cantrell, along with bassist Mike Inez and drummer Sean Kinney. Together, the foursome has unquestionably gelled, as first evidenced on late 2009's Black Gives Way To Blue (Virgin), followed by several well oiled months on the road.
Though the Chicago stop of the current outing opened with the scalding new cut "All Secrets Known," the two hour, nearly twenty track evening was a well balanced mixture between the current and the past. The fresh, riff-heavy "Check My Brain" fell right in step with previous crests, such as the dominating "Dam That River" and enduring "Would?"
Occasional relief from the electric onslaught came in a tempered down acoustic set, but the most riveting moments came from the musical merging of grunge and metal, met by the visual assault of strobes and rotating backdrops. The encore segment was amongst the most compelling, with "No Excuses" and "Man In the Box" recalling not only how influential the group was during its initial run, but how it continues to inspire the alternative rock masses.
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