AiC is back with a slower-paced, but still hard-hitting album that features some of Jerry Cantrell's most masterful playing yet.

Alice in Chains
The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here

It could be argued that Alice in Chains' greatest strength has always been the sense of movement within the group’s songwriting. From the 1990 landmark album, Facelift, to their 2009 comeback Black Gives Way to Blue, Jerry Cantrell's sinewy and melodic riffs heave and tug their songs back and forth with a moody heaviness that's been copped by many and matched by few. The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here is chock-full of the powerful, seasickness-inducing riffs that the band is known for exploring, and this album delivers them with a slower and more lumbering punch than its 2009 predecessor.

The slower approach works in the favor of this collection of songs, giving both William DuVall's and Cantrell's gloomy vocals room to breathe and provide hair-raising contrast against the music—especially on the tracks "Hollow," "Lab Monkey," and "Stone." Cantrell also supplies some of the most masterful guitar work of his career—his carefully crafted leads during "Scalpel" and "Stone" highlighting his criminally underrated, almost Gilmour-like restraint.

The album's major barn burners—"Hollow," "Stone," and "Phantom Limb"—serve as bookends for its decidedly less intense, yet comfortably-paced and enjoyable middle. Overall, the album doesn't match the ferocity of Dirt or Facelift, but it wasn't written that way. Instead, The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here heroically experiments with a stylistic culmination of the band's more than two-decades of making music. While it doesn't pack as many earworms as Black Gives Way to Blue, it's still a fantastic album with plenty of breathtaking moments.

Must-hear tracks: "Stone," "Scalpel," "Phantom Limb"

Want to play different pedal sequences in a flash? These handy boxes provide more tone solutions than you might realize.

There is no right or wrong way to wire a pedalboard. It’s really a matter of personal taste and what our ears find pleasing. Every musician has their own thing, and our pedalboards are certainly an extension of that. For some, reconfiguring the pedalboard is a lifelong process, and adding a new device often means something has got to go, because real estate is crucial!

Read MoreShow less

Misfits guitarist Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein unveils a new line of strings, collaborating with Josh Vittek of Sheptone.

Read MoreShow less

My years-long search for the “right” Bigsby-outfitted box finally paid off. Now how do I make this sumbitch work in my band?

Considering the amount of time I’ve spent (here and elsewhere) talking about and lusting after Gretsch hollowbody guitars, it’s taken me a remarkably long time to end up with a big Bigsby-outfitted box I truly love. High-end Gretsches are pricey enough that, for a long time, I just couldn’t swing it. Years ago I had an Electromatic for a while, and it looked and played lovely, but didn’t have the open, blooming acoustic resonance I hoped for. A while later, I reviewed the stellar Players Edition Broadkaster semi-hollow, and it was so great in so many ways that I set my sights on it, eventually got one, and adore it to this day. Yet the full-hollowbody lust remained.

Read MoreShow less