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Alice Cooper – Along Came A Spider

Label: SPV USA
Format: CD
Released: 2008
Reviewed By: Rich Catino
I have always loved Alice Cooper more as a performer than a musician because his music never quite fit the stage show (well ok with the exception of “Welcome To My Nightmare”, “Trash”, and “Brutal Planet” as far as concept and thematically). Of course during the 70s, for the time Alice’s lyrics were a reflection of the world around him understandably but with such an elaborate and clearly horror based stage show one might expect something more from the music.
 
Alice is a pioneer, singlehandedly creating the term “shock rock” “theatrical rock”, and he rightfully owns the title. Without him there would be no Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, or any other similarly designed rocker. But, just to make a point without putting down his works, let’s be honest King Diamond (and before his first band Mercyful Fate) took the template Alice created to the needed next level creating nightmareish theater with songs that went hand in hand with the stage show. Alice is to a 50’s or 60’s B -horror film what King Diamond is to Clive Barker’s “Hellraiser” or Stephen King’s “The Shinning”. Its all good, they are both masters of their niche but King’s music is as frightening as his stage show (and imagine if he had Alice’s budget to work with). Alice on the other hand, has always been an outstanding performer with song’s yes that work expertly with “his” live show, yet, not quite able to compose music that sounds scary. The cheese out weights the screams, don’t cha think?

With that in mind, Alice Cooper’s ‘Along Came A Spider” sees the man, the legend, in top form. The album has more in common with his 1975 album “Welcome To My Nightmare” for the opening spoken intro “Prologue”/I Know Where You Live” and “Brutal Planet” on a harder darker toned song like “Vengeance is Mine” than the terribly juvenile "Between High School & Old School" from the album “The Eyes of Alice Cooper”, thankfully. Still, the song’s lyrics and delivery here on “Spider” are very much tongue and cheek like those classic 50s & 60s horror flicks as “The One That Got Away” opens with the lyric ‘You look like you fit in the trunk of my car, I might let you live I might go to far”. The track’s riff pattern, drums, and chorus are simple and to the point. Its Alice being Alice. “Wake the Dead” has a very 70’s funky psychedelia feel with the effects on the guitars and another prime example of how Alice spins his web of dark macabre humor. Ballad “Killed By Love” sees some Beatles influence on the chorus and harmonies with a familiar feel to Alice’s classic “Only Women Bleed” from 1975. “I’m Hungry” see the inclusion of the background group clapping and if you are looking for another big radio hit like “Poison”, well its not on this album. “Spider” is artistic with more shtick, less commercial in its composition.

The accompanying booklet graphic artwork is nicely designed like a 50’s horror movie lobby card (example; “The Blob”, “The Crawling Eye”, “Tarantula”) complete with lyrics telling the story of Steven and an eight legged friend..or is he?.
 
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