Black Gives Way To Blue

In the Nineties, Alice in Chains wentmultiplatinum on a grunge-metal sound that was like the soundtrack to singer Layne Staley's heroin addiction, which killed him in 2002. On the band's first album in 14 years, sludgy guitars are back, and they'recoupled with vocals by guitarist Jerry Cantrell and new addition William DuVall, each of whom approximates Staley's tortured-zombie crooning. Thehard-charging "Check My Brain" is as hooky as the old hits, and the title track — a Staley tribute featuring Elton John on piano — is pretty in a calm-after-the-storm way. What Black lacks aregreat tunes and a sense of can't-look-away drama.