Alice Cooper - Along Came A Spider
Even if you're not a fan, you've just got to appreciate a classic that won't say die. With a career as contraversial and successful, it might have seemed like an easy choice for Alice Cooper to give up the ghost and retire peacefully. With the opening lines to "Vengeance Is Mine", he both introduces his newest in-album character and touches base on just that line of thinking I was referring to; "They hated every part of me - expect me to forget it - they tried so hard to bury me - but I survive it everytime". Even to this admitted AC novice, the entirety of him and his band's newest project Along Came A Spider is quite impressive. Strictly to-the-core rock'n'roll that is weighed down quite well with a thick guitar sound and overall classic metal feel. Without any prior work to really compare it to, this won't be a review for the long-time fans so much as for the newly introduced fans to be. I can't see why any old Cooper fan wouldn't love this album, though.
The story centers around a highly intelligent and manipulative serial killer and apparent sick twisted freak known as Spider. He's got a thing for the webspinners, you see, and collects a leg from each of his victim's in order to ultimately create his own spider...human...hybrid-thingy. God only knows...and it's this sort of deranged creative direction we've all come to know and love Alice Cooper for. The music does a nice job contrasting the more macabre lyrical subject matter with extremely catchy hard-rock, oriented strictly on groove and Coop's still-strong vocal melodies. The beginning of the record takes us through Spider's rampages, highlights including "Vengeance is Mine" (wicked guitar solo on this one) and "Wake the Dead" and it's electro-rock groove almost bringing to mind an early Muse. When the album unexpectedly turns softer, on "Killed By Love", the sudden shift in polarities is nothing but astonishing. This song caught me right away, and might be my favorite on the album. Soft backing vocals flow over a tight acoustic pulse, while Spider explains how his last victim-to-be has stolen his heart. He shows his lament for letting her go alive on "The One That Got Away", and then pleads his case (perhaps mockingly) for a chance to turn his evil ways around on "Salvation". The album closes out on a deliciously haunting number, one of the album's best in "I Am The Spider / Epilogue". Listen to the last words for a reference to someone old fans might know by the name of Steven...heheh...
So,nothing but a great rock album from front to back. Alice Cooper made sure to bring together a very tight and talented bunch of musicians to create his latest bunch of darkened headbangers, and what was produced works as both that coveted collection of good tunes as much as it does as a themed script to an invisible 'B' horror flick. Somehow it even brings me back to a time when millions were painting their faces and scoffing at authority like the original shock-rocker did, to the disdain of an equal amount of uptight squares. Rock on, old man. He'll be touring for the album starting next year, a show worth seeing no matter who you are.
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