Alice Cooper hasn't really been worth a much of a crap in quite a long, long time; and with this latest album he's really not improving his situation much. Oh yeah, back in the day Alice Cooper was great. Especially when Alice Cooper was the moniker of the band and not just Vince's alter ego. When it was: Vince Fournier - vocals, Glen Buxton and Michael Bruce - guitars, Dennis Dunaway - bass, and Neil Smith - drums, they were a force to be reckoned with. Top of the heap. They were vital, intense, high energy, trashy, and pure teenage rampage. All the ingredients for a top notch, true blue rock and roll band I think you'll agree.
Sadly though, those days are gone, and instead of blazing trails, Mr. Cooper has decided to cop trends. (He uses an auto tuner on the opener fer criminy sakes). So instead of hard edged intensity here, he's giving us a rather sanitized faux trash, decadence shtick that seems to be what a lot of people are gravitating to these days. You know what I mean. You've seen the hipsters wearing their rebel cred on their sleeves, and their chic, outsider fashionability, but when push comes to shove they are just as bland and mainstream as any of the Justin Beiber fans they think they hate so much. Of course the Beiber fans will probably grow out of it someday.
But back to the record at hand here. Over all I find this thing extremely frustrating because there are moments on this thing, brief, shimmering glimpses of the sublime spirit that was "Love It To Death" or "Killer", or take your pick of any early Alice Cooper record Pre- 1976, But the energy just doesn't keep up, and the sound starts to careen into late 80's early 90's sissy metal. All in all there are two good songs on this thing "Last Man On Earth" ( a sort of 1930's New Orleans dirge that wouldn't sound outta place on a Dead Brothers disc) and "Ghouls Gone Wild" (which sounds like the Dictators playing in a party scene on some twisted A.I.P. beach movie). "Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever" is some kind of novelty song I guess, but this kind of thing sounds better when Svengoolie does 'em on his show. (plus you get to see some old horror flick).
The whole reason that I wanted to hear this thing anyway was because the original band play on it. (Sans Glen Buxton -R.I.P.) Three songs to be exact, with each of the guys helping co write a song each. The bad news is that these songs are really mired by the production and the sonically antiseptic metal guitar sounds from Steve Hunter and Tommy Henrickson. I think I'd like to hear these songs ( "A Runaway Train", " I'll Bite Your Face Off", and "When Hell Comes Home") with just the members that remain of the original band. I think the songs are possibly good ones, just not executed with enough trash rock sensibility that you can tell they scream for.
So overall what you get here is Alice sounding a lot like John Lennon in the vocal department ("Something To Remember Me By" actually sounds like it could of been an outtake from a late 70's Lennon record), a lot of modern pop production, some not quit there rock and roll tunes, and some other stuff that seems to be the kind of things that only Night Ranger fans could consider heavy. If Skid Row and Def Leppard are your idea of really great hard rockin' sounds then you can go ahead and pick this up cause you'll probably love it. However, on the other hand if you don't, then see if you can find "Ghouls Gone Wild" as a single and just forget the rest.