The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here

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The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here
Studio album by Alice in Chains
Released May 28, 2013
Recorded July 2011–December 2012
Henson Recording Studios
Los Angeles, California
Genre Alternative metal, heavy metal, sludge metal[1]
Length 67:16
Label Capitol
Producer Nick Raskulinecz, Alice in Chains
Alice in Chains chronology
Black Gives Way to Blue
(2009)
The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here
(2013)
Singles from The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here
  1. "Hollow"
    Released: December 18, 2012 (2012-12-18)
  2. "Stone"
    Released: March 26, 2013 (2013-03-26)
  3. "Voices"
    Released: August 13, 2013 (2013-08-13)

The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here is the fifth studio album by the American rock band Alice in Chains, released on May 28, 2013. It is the band's second reunion album.[2] Following a worldwide tour in support of its previous album, Black Gives Way to Blue (2009), Alice in Chains began work on a new album. The making of The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here lasted for more than a year and the release of the album was delayed numerous times. The band entered the studio in July 2011 to start work on their fifth album.[3] During the writing and recording sessions, guitarist Jerry Cantrell underwent shoulder surgery, which resulted in the delay of the album.[4] The recording sessions of The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here were completed in December 2012.[5]

Peaking at number two on the Billboard 200, The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here was well received by music critics and "Hollow", "Stone" and "Voices" were released as singles to promote the album. In April 2013, the band released music videos for the songs "Hollow", and "Stone", and in September 2013, music videos for "Voices" and the title track were released on YouTube to further promote the album. The album also reached the top ten in the national albums charts of Australia, Finland and Norway.[6]

Background and recording[edit]

About seven months after the release of Black Gives Way to Blue, Alice in Chains hinted at the possibility of a fifth studio album when guitarist Jerry Cantrell told MTV News that there were thoughts and did not "see any reason why it wouldn't [happen]."[7] Singer William DuVall also commented on the possibility of the album and Alice in Chains' future, "we've got a lot of water to sail before we do that. There's a lot of shows. But yeah, generally speaking, yeah, we're excited about the future. I don't anticipate some long layoff."[8]

DuVall revealed in September 2010 that Alice in Chains had not begun writing their next album yet, but "there's plenty of riffs flying around." He added, "That was the case when we first started back up. We would just stockpile these fragments, and then some time later we would sift through the mountain of stuff, and that's what became Black Gives Way to Blue. The same thing has been happening since we've been touring Black Gives Way to Blue, so it would be only natural to at some point say, 'Hey, we've got a lot of stuff. Let's sift through and see what we've got this time.'" DuVall also mentioned that it was possible that the album would feature songs that were written for Black Gives Way to Blue.[9]

On March 21, 2011, Metal Hammer reported that Alice in Chains would begin recording their new album by the end of 2011.[10] In May 2012, Cantrell revealed that, prior to the recording sessions, he had surgery. He explained, "The thing that set me back is I had some bone spurs [and] cartilage issues in my shoulders. I had the same issue in the other shoulder about six years ago so I've had them both done now. It's a repetitive motion injury from playing."[4] In December 2012, Cantrell confirmed that the album was completed.[5]

On the making the album, Cantrell said to Revolver magazine: "I don't think you'll be surprised by anything you hear. ... It's us. But it's also really unique. It's got all the elements of any record we've put out, but it's unlike any record we've put out. Basically, it's the next chapter in the Alice in Chains book, and it's going to be a big one." Cantrell also said to Guitar World: "In my opinion, Black Gives Way to Blue stood up to anything else we've put out in our career. Hopefully, the new album will connect with people in the same way."[11]

Music and lyrics[edit]

Regarding the album, Jerry Cantrell has stated "there's some real filth in there".

Jerry Cantrell stated in an interview with Rolling Stone, "We made a unique record that's completely different from anything we ever did. It encapsulates a period of time, like all records do. You see growth and that the band is moving ahead in new territory that we haven't been to before, but we haven't lost our identity."[12]

Cantrell also stated "There's some real filth in there. That's intentional, and that's also just how we sound together. We're trying to make a record that we dig and we're trying to keep the bar high for ourselves and see if we can get past it, and I think that we did again. And of course you want people to dig it too and to respond to it, and to have that start happening is satisfying."[12]

For the lyrics, Jerry Cantrell stated: "The devil put dinosaurs here / Jesus don't like a queer / No problem with faith / Just fear," which appear in the title track. "What's the old joke?" Cantrell said. "There are two things you never want to get into a conversation or argument about: politics and religion. But fuck, I guess we're going to be talking about this for awhile [sic]."[13]

Artwork[edit]

The cover artwork features the skull of a Triceratops with a second skull image steganographically hidden on a red background. The two skulls, when revealed, combine to form the image of the Devil. The album title refers to a belief held by some religious individuals that to confuse the masses of humanity, Satan himself planted dinosaur bones deep into the Earth to dissuade the faithful.[13]

The inner artwork includes images of other dinosaur skulls steganographically overlapped in a similar manner to the front cover, including two pachycephalosaurs and Ankylosaurus. Additional imagery is also revealed when the CD tray is removed from the jewel case.

Reception[edit]

Commercial[edit]

The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 (the band's highest chart position since 1995's Alice in Chains, which debuted at #1), selling 61,000 copies in its first week of release.[14] By July 31, 2013, the album had sold 120,000 copies in the US.[15]

The album also debuted at #2 on the Canadian Albums Chart, selling 7,300 copies in its first week.[16]

"The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here was nominated for a Grammy in 2013 for "Best Engineered Album- Non Classical".

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic 70/100[17]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 3/5 stars[18]
The A.V. Club B-[19]
The Independent 3/5 stars[20]
Loudwire 4.5/5 stars[21]
Melodic 3.5/5 stars[22]
Pitchfork Media 5.9/10[23]
PopMatters 8/10[24]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[25]
The Skinny 4/5 stars[26]
Spin 6/10[27]

The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here has received positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album has average score of 71 indicating "generally favorable reviews".[17]

Chad Childers of Loudwire wrote: "With their new album, 'The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here,' the veteran rockers prove they can sustain their excellence. While all the things you would expect from Alice in Chains — sludgy guitars, haunting melodies, dark lyrics — are on the disc, the band shows they can still put a fresh spin on their sound." He went on to say that "while Alice in Chains definitely does "dark" well, songs like 'Low Ceiling' and 'Breath on a Window' offer a catchier, faster-paced alternative and deliver the perfect change of pace needed mid-album" and gave the album four and a half out of five stars.[21] Johan Wippsson of Melodic magazine felt that "The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here is overall a good and stable record, but will not count it as one of the band's best."[22]

Dave Kerr of The Skinny awarded the album four out of five stars and wrote: "Featuring an even split of melodic slowburners and lead-heavy bangers with blindsiding tempo-shifts that arrive like eleventh hour twists to the plot, songs such as Phantom Limb and Breath On A Window carry the familiar hallmarks of AiC's heyday without entirely surrendering to the predictability they might imply. Brooding, doomy riffs usher in soaring two-part harmonies which reiterate that, against some odds, Cantrell has found a worthy foil in co-vocalist William DuVall. A significant addition to their intimidating catalogue."[26]

Stephen Erlewine of Allmusic gave the album a more mixed review saying: "This has a digital sheen that was missing even from Black Gives Way to Blue, and it gives the album an expansive feel, so the patented churn doesn't seem quite so claustrophobic as before. Then again, perhaps that expansiveness is just a sign of age: Alice in Chains are now firmly entrenched in their middle age and settling into what they do best: retaining their signature without pandering and, tellingly, without succumbing to the darkness that otherwise defines them." He went on to give the album three out of five stars.[18]

Jon Dolan of Rolling Stone gave a similar impression, writing: "It's the band's second LP since the 2002 death of singer Layne Staley, and though new vocalist William DuVall doesn't have his predecessor's talent for shaping Seattle sludge into molten-dread anthems, founder Jerry Cantrell's expressively torpid guitar steps up to become its own kind of lead voice, chugging mordantly on 'Hollow' and wailing like My Bloody Valentine on 'Pretty Done.'" He also went on to give the album three out of five stars.[25]

Stephen M. Deusner of Pitchfork Media also gave a mixed review, writing: "[The title] song is six-and-a-half minutes long. It doesn't need to be. Chop it in half and you could double its impact. But the same could be said of just about any track on Dinosaurs, which typically lumber past the five-minute mark. The result is an album that feels much longer than its bloated 70 minutes, that often buries its best moments, that exhausts its most intriguing ideas either by stretching them out or simply repeating them." He then adds "On the other hand, Dinosaurs actually does have some intriguing ideas to exhaust, mostly about how you play mainstream rock in 2013."[23]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Jerry Cantrell, except where noted

No. Title Length
1. "Hollow"   5:43
2. "Pretty Done"   4:35
3. "Stone"   4:23
4. "Voices"   5:42
5. "The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here" (Cantrell, Mike Inez, Sean Kinney) 6:38
6. "Lab Monkey"   5:59
7. "Low Ceiling" (Cantrell, Inez, Kinney) 5:15
8. "Breath on a Window"   5:18
9. "Scalpel" (Cantrell, Inez, Kinney) 5:21
10. "Phantom Limb" (Cantrell, Inez, Kinney, William DuVall) 7:07
11. "Hung on a Hook"   5:34
12. "Choke" (Cantrell, Inez, Kinney) 5:44
Total length:
67:17

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2013) Peak
position
Spanish Albums (PROMUSICAE)[28] 56
Dutch Albums (MegaCharts)[29] 52
Swedish Albums (Sverigetopplistan)[30] 35
Hungarian Albums (MAHASZ)[31] 28
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[32] 23
UK Albums (OCC)[33] 22
Danish Albums (Hitlisten)[34] 14
New Zealand Albums (Recorded Music NZ)[35] 12
Australian Albums (ARIA)[36] 10
Norwegian Albums (VG-lista)[37] 6
Finnish Albums (Suomen virallinen lista)[38] 6
US Top Digital Albums[39] 5
Top Canadian albums[39] 2
US Top Hard Rock Albums[39] 1
US Top Rock Albums[39] 1
US Billboard 200[40] 2

Year-end charts[edit]

Year Chart Position
2013 US Billboard 200 188[41]

Personnel[edit]

Production

References[edit]

  1. ^ Johnson, Kevin. "Alice In Chains Releases "The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here"". No Treble. Retrieved May 29, 2013. 
  2. ^ "ALICE IN CHAINS: New Album Title Revealed". Blabbermouth.net. February 14, 2013. Archived from the original on February 20, 2013. Retrieved February 14, 2013. 
  3. ^ "ALICE IN CHAINS Is Working On New Music, Says HEART's ANN WILSON". Blabbermouth.net. July 20, 2011. Archived from the original on December 4, 2013. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "New Alice in Chains Album Will Come Out in Late 2012 or Early 2013". Archived from the original on October 13, 2012. Retrieved July 20, 2013.  from "Lessons Learned With Jerry Cantrell". Archived from the original on June 2, 2012. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Guitarist Confirms Completion Of New ALICE IN CHAINS Album". Blabbermouth.net. December 7, 2012. Archived from the original on December 8, 2012. Retrieved December 6, 2012. 
  6. ^ ALICE IN CHAINS - THE DEVIL PUT DINOSAURS HERE (ALBUM)
  7. ^ "ALICE IN CHAINS Guitarist Says 'There Are Thoughts' Of A New Albumnet". Blabbermouth. April 13, 2010. Archived from the original on December 28, 2013. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 
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  10. ^ "Alice In Chains To Begin Work On New Album". Metal Hammer. March 21, 2011. Archived from the original on June 28, 2013. Retrieved July 20, 2013. 
  11. ^ "ALICE IN CHAINS: Behind-the-Scenes Footage from Making of 'Hollow' Video". Blabbermouth.net. February 14, 2013. Archived from the original on June 1, 2013. Retrieved February 16, 2013. 
  12. ^ a b Baltin, Steve (March 4, 2013). "Jerry Cantrell on New Alice in Chains Album: 'There's Some Real Filth in There' | Music News". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on March 4, 2013. Retrieved March 5, 2013. 
  13. ^ a b "ALICE IN CHAINS: The 'Secret' Behind New Album Cover Artwork Revealed". Blabbermouth.net. March 22, 2013. Archived from the original on March 25, 2013. Retrieved March 23, 2013. 
  14. ^ Keith Caulfield. "Daft Punk Scores Second Week at No. 1 on Billboard 200 Chart". Billboard. Archived from the original on June 8, 2013. Retrieved June 6, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Metal By Numbers 7/31: Metalcore gets back to its Roots". Metal Insider. July 31, 2013. Archived from the original on March 25, 2013. 
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  20. ^ Harley, Kevin (May 25, 2013). "Album review: Alice in Chains, The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here (Virgin)". The Independent. Archived from the original on June 7, 2013. Retrieved May 29, 2013. 
  21. ^ a b Childers, Chad (May 28, 2013). "Alice in Chains, ‘The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here’ – Album Review". Loudwire. Archived from the original on June 7, 2013. Retrieved May 28, 2013. 
  22. ^ a b Wippsson, Johan. "Alice in Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here". Melodic. Archived from the original on June 16, 2013. Retrieved March 31, 2013. 
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  24. ^ Waterman, Cole (May 28, 2013). "Alice in Chains: The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here". PopMatters. Archived from the original on June 7, 2013. Retrieved May 29, 2013. 
  25. ^ a b Dolan, Jon (June 17, 2013). "Alice In Chains, "The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here"". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on June 22, 2013. Retrieved June 27, 2013. 
  26. ^ a b Kerr, Dave. "Alice in Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here". The Skinny. Archived from the original on May 29, 2013. Retrieved May 29, 2013. 
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  28. ^ "Alice in Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here". Spanishcharts.com. Hung Medien.
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  34. ^ "Alice in Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here". Danishcharts.com. Hung Medien.
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  41. ^ http://www.billboard.com/charts/year-end/2013/the-billboard-200?page=18