By Leah Greenblatt
June 08, 2009 at 08:09 PM EDT
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Proto-grunge icons Alice In Chains announced today that they have just signed a deal with EMI’s Virgin Records, and are readying a new studio album for release this September — more than seven years after the death of frontman Layne Staley, and 14 since their last record, 1995’s self-titled Alice in Chains.

Taking Staley’s spot is guitarist/vocalist William DuVall, who officially joined original members Jerry Cantrell and Sean Kinney and longtime bassist Mike Inez (he replaced Mike Starr in 1993) in 2006, shortly after the band reunited at a benefit for victims of the tsunami in Indonesia. DuVall, a veteran of Atlanta’s hardcore punk scene, has known Cantrell for years and hit the road with AIC in 2007 — they toured Europe and the States with fellow reconstituted alt-stars Velvet Revolver.

What do you think, readers — is it Alice without Staley, a man possessed of one of the most distinctive voices in modern rock, or should they leave the band’s legacy where it lays? We’ve seen bands who’ve lost frontmen both thrive (AC/DC,TNT both with Bon Scott and without) and flounder (did anyone ask for another slice of Blind Melon after Shannoon Hoon passed away?); on which side will this one fall?

More from EW’s Music Mix:
Iggy Pop calls Fred Durst a thug: This week in rock feuds
Santigold remix project ‘Southerngold’ gets shut down
MGMT finally release video for ‘Kids’: Monsters and toddlers and animated hot dogs, oh my!

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