Great Music Day (for me anyway) Alice In Chains And Muse

By: Don Ward
By: Don Ward

Two of my all-time favorites have new stuff!


OK..Muse and Alice In Chain will probably not tour together, there's probably not a huge fan overlap, but I'm one of the overlappers!

Alice in Chains was my favorite band of the 90's. They had their genesis in the grunge movement but crossed into metal territory too.  Muse is my favorite band of the 2000's.  The band is dramatic, over-the-top, sometimes heavy but intricate, and made up of outstanding musicians.

Today, September 29th, 2009, both bands released brand new cd's.  Wow.  I had a pretty good music day.  I had a busy day too, a 6.85 mile hike/run at Waldo Canyon, then oh yeah, this whole work thing. But I did manage to buy the discs.  So far I've only been able to listen to most of the Muse one, "The Resistance", in the car.

I like what I've heard. Some songs have been getting airplay for a while (Uprising) others have been out there on Youtube for a time.  It seems to be an ambitious album with their usual powerful anthems, theatrical and Queen-like, and singer/guitarist/pianInst/composer Matt Bellamy's own take on a classical type piece in three movements.  I haven't read any reviews yet because I like to decide for myself.  I think I'll like this album quite a bit, but I don't think I'll like it better than "Absolution."  To me, that one is a masterpiece from start to finish.  Buy it, listen to it, love it.  Give it two or three complete plays before you give up on grows on

The Alice In Chains release is called "Black Gives Way To Blue."  This first studio album since the death of singer Layne Stayley is getting some radio play and I like what I've heard.  It seems they manage to keep their characteristic harmony using intervals other that the ones we're most accustomed to hearing. That seems to indicate that guitarist Jerry Cantrell must have been the driving force behind that arranging back in the days when Stayley was at the mic.  I hope I like this album, but I don't think I'll like it as much as "Dirt" .  For many bands, the best-selling album isn't always the me top-seller "Dirt" was.  Pick it up, listen to it, enjoy its heaviness and darkness, even while it maintains a strong sense of melody.  I hope the new one approaches "Dirt" for quality, but I will always miss Staley's pained wail, and controlled vocal chaos. (I mean that description in a good way!)

I saw the original Alice lineup just once, in about 1996, opening for Kiss in Louisville KY. AIC was great, but they didn't play long enough.  Stayley hit all the high notes, even on the vocally demanding, and range-testing chorus of "Man In The Box."

I saw Muse at Red Rocks two years ago.  What was great about that is that they were selling out stadiums in Europe, but they weren't that big here yet.  We managed to get into the 8th row for one of the best shows I've ever seen.  Muse's only U.S dates for this fall are as openers for U2.  I'll wait until they tour on their own.

If you're on the fence about these two bands, I'll let you know how the albums sound, once I actually get a chance to hear them!

We'll talk again soon.




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