Vera : Long before black metal embraced the dark side of life and numerous theatrical acts hit stages all over the world, the American Vincent Furnier shocked the (American) establishment with his exuberant show in which horror, sex and decadence reigned. Even today Alice Cooper regularly tours to show everybody who is the real patriarch of occult perversion. However, now we can announce a new studio album, the successor of the six years old ‘Welcome 2 My Nightmare’ (2011) and that turned into a double album, entitled ‘Paranormal’. On the 28th of July it will be released by earMUSIC.
The twelve tracks of the regular album were recorded in Nashville with legendary producer Bob Ezrin. ‘Paranormal’ includes guest appearances of eminent musicians such as Deep Purple’s Roger Glover, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. of U2. Big names united on one record. On top of that, the bonus disc includes two new tracks, written and recorded together with the original Alice Cooper band members Dennis Dunaway, drummer Neal Smith and guitarist Michael Bruce, plus a couple of live recordings from the current band. Let the music do the talking…
And it is a positive surprise which makes me conclude that the Alice Cooper sound remains something unique. Well okay, maybe the real stand out classic hits may belong to the past, but opener ‘Paranormal’ has this irresistible repetitive switch from plucking guitars to outbursts with howling leads that instantly haunts you. This is extremely fetching, while Alice appears to be the drawling, decadent Majesty himself. A wild guitar solo leads to a reprise of the beginning. Impressive start! The guitar sound is heavy and chunky, also in ‘Dead Flies’ which is sung in a proclaiming manner and turns into a heavy rocker. In the smooth up-tempo ‘Fireball’ distorted vocals bring in a spatial zest. The single (with video clip in the making) ‘Paranoiac Personality’, is a bit lighter stuff, starting with bass and continuing in creepy style with sturdy vocals. It was not mentioned where the guest musicians appear, but I bet that Billy Gibbons shines in the groove-laden ‘Fallen In Love’. This really has that ZZ Top swing.
The decadent element prevails in the greasy ‘Dynamite Road’ and ‘Holy Water’ with a horn section and charming wah-wah solo. Next the firm rocker ‘Rats’ excels with a fervent guitar solo. However, the biggest surprise happens to be the occluding track ‘The Sound Of A’. The bluesy beginning passes into an ultimate atmospheric Pink Floydish stunner, inclusive emotive soaring guitar solo and here Alice Cooper proves that he is still able to surprise. A stand out song! The bonus disc kicks off with two tracks Alice created with his former buddies. It is more a kind of nostalgia than that ‘Genuine American Girl’ (catchy up-tempo song) or ‘ You And All Of Your Friends’ (with slightly psychedelic distorted voice) will put new standards. The songs are often relished with excellent guitar solos and backing vocals regularly pop up. Next it is fun to hear six classic tunes in a live situation in Columbus, played by the current band. That current Alice Cooper band will play at Rock Zottegem on the sixth of July and in December they will come back to the Netherlands and Belgium. We are satisfied with ‘Paranormal’ and it proves that Alice Cooper is still relevant these days, even though his fans are not so easily shocked anymore as in the early days.