There are a few things in life that are always certain. Death and taxes, obviously, but also the fact that it always goes on. You can keep up or to cling to the past, life will nonetheless move forward whether you like it or not. You, and only you, decide if you want to be left behind or not. We have all been there; faced a terrible loss that made us want to move backwards in time, just a little bit, and stay right there. But it won’t happen. All we can do is accept it and move forward. Throughout history, this has been a hard fact for many musical acts to face. There are countless examples of bands that never quite recuperated after the death of a band member. Some have been largely forgotten in the wake of the loss. Others have posthumously become more renowned than they ever were as an active band. It’s hard to say what factors place a band in either category, but most of the times, it’s something that the band members themselves cannot rule over. The only thing they actually can do is to make an effort not to qualify in either one of the categories. And with “Black Gives Way To Blue”, Alice In Chains decided to do just that. This was their first album in fourteen years, and the first one after the death of iconic lead singer Layne Staley. I remember when the album was about to come out. The months leading up to the release. Reading the articles in magazines such as Classic Rock and Metal Hammer, where the journalists all agreed that this was indeed a worthy comeback album. But the doubt still lingered in my mind. Could it really be? Did they know what they were talking about? More importantly, would it matter to me? After all, what attracted me to the classic Alice In Chains albums “Facelift” and “Dirt” was Layne Staley. His shattered voice, the primal self-loathing that he channeled in his vocal delivery and the almost-too-honest lyrics about being a drug addict who wanted to quit using, but couldn’t muster the strength to do it. To me, Alice In Chains was about true darkness, rooted in the personal experiences of Layne Staley. How were they ever going to replace that?