The album opens up with “The One You Know”…which is a blatant lie because this is the first time I’ve listened to the album and I’m not psychic! I jest…it opens up with a series of short, sharp guitar chords, repeated like some really lackluster Norman Bates parody. Seriously it just half-asses it’s way along with about as much momentum as a bout of constipation…the chorus has a decent groove and the guitar solo salvages something at least, but this a poor opener, it’s one I NOW know but also one I want to forget…moving on. The title track does at least have decent rhythm and it’s riffs do have a certain hook to them, which coupled with the tracks key changes make for a more fluid listen I’ll give it that, but what IS rainier fog? You don’t see the weather man warn you about that special rainy fog…of course it’s fucking wet otherwise it’d be smoke! It is in fact a nod to Mount Rainier, a volcano overlooking Seattle, and the aforementioned cities music scene which appropriately erupted like a volcano in the early 90’s…fitting, both then and now, as like a volcano the genre is thankfully dormant.
Further notable points on the album are sadly sparse as AIC are hardly the most energetic bunch…”Fly” opts for a far lighter approach with its melodious guitar tone and almost indie-esque post-rock feel; it’s simplicity and harmony allowing for one of the records more enjoyable listens. “Maybe” and similarly “Never Fade” do utilise far catchier choruses for the most part, the latter having a little more grit and attitude to it throughout but it hardly gets your blood pumping, and this is arguably the best track on offer here! The rest of the album sadly makes you feel not only as miserable as you do when it IS raining, but there’s a leak in your roof to boot, plus your toilet has flooded. “Drone” does exactly what it says on the tin and drones on like it’s even bored of itself…it actually musically sums up grunge in one damning swoop, utterly boring stuff this, while closing track “All I Am”, the longest track on offer, just feels completely drawn out and needlessly time consuming. I’ll tell you this much, All I am, personally, is fed up, and I’m glad this is the last track.
Now, I’ll be fair and as impartial as I can be…vocally Jerry Cantrell, as far as clean vocalists in rock and metal go, does have a distinct and iconic sound; he’s crafted the style to his own and he knows how to carry a song…likewise with the musicianship; yes there are some solid riffs utilised here and you can’t fault the band for their prowess as song writers…but there’s only so far that can go when the song’s themselves are so utterly depressing. Alice has been in chains for 30 years now and for some reason she’s still being kept alive; reasons which frankly elude me…and truth be told she’s brought nothing new or interesting to the table with this one sadly.