After a series of delays in the recording of Alice in Chains' fifth full-length album, singer-guitarist Jerry Cantrell reveals that the band is going full steam ahead with hopes of a 2012 release.

Alice in Chains returned to the forefront of hard rock in 2009 with their first album in 16 years -- 'Black Gives Way to Blue.' The album also marked the band's first release without late vocalist Layne Staley, whose memory served as the inspiration for the critically acclaimed disc. The band reportedly began working on new material as far back as last summer, but their progress was halted when Cantrell underwent shoulder surgery.

Now recovered from his procedure, Cantrell reveals that Alice in Chains are finally ready to go. "It‘s time to get to work and the material is really interesting, the body of work that we’ve done," Cantrell tells Rolling Stone of the new album. "It’ll be as different as any one of our records is to any other, and it’ll also be just as recognizable. It’s an Alice record, for sure."

Although Cantrell predicts that the album will be out in late 2012 or early 2013 at the latest -- he says the band won't rush the finished product to meet a deadline. "We’ve been very lucky to be able to kind of do things at our own pace for our entire career. And this is no exception."

Cantrell is set to be honored at the MusiCares MAP Fund Benefit later this month for his continued contributions to help musicians who struggle with addiction -- something his band has dealt with first hand. "Everybody’s human, everybody has flaws, everybody falls down. It’s just a f---ing fact of life," says Cantrell. "A lot of people stand and get the f--- back up after falling. Some people don’t get that chance. My band’s been a harsh example of that – what happens when you don’t deal with it."

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