Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Shock Rock Meets Kermit The Frog

If you even claim to have a fleeting interest in metal or hard rock music, hell, even wider than that, you have to give a huge amount of respect to Alice Cooper. Without a shadow of a doubt this guy is one of the most influential musicians in recent history. With an excellent back catalogue bursting to the seems with classic albums and massive hits he is simply one of metal's greatest and beloved characters, and his infamous stage theatrics have been an influence to artists as wide as the likes of Twisted Sister, Rob Zombie, Slipknot, to even the likes of Lady Gaga. Frankly if you enjoy any musician who has a penchant for massive, eye catching stage craft, you owe old Vincent big time.

Alice Cooper himself is enjoying quite a ride at the moment with popularity seemingly at a greater high than it has been in years. Festival appearances as of late at Sonisphere and Download, hugely successful tours, even Johnny Depp getting up on stage and playing guitar with him, things are looking rosy in the Alice Cooper camp, and with a new album out, things are looking pretty perfect for him. It is such a shame that this highly anticipated album is a major disappointment.

Reverting back to his classic Welcome To My Nightmare solo d├ębut; name and cover wise, this was hailed by many as potentially his best album in years, especially with famed producer Bob Erzin at the helm. Welcome 2 My Nightmare however has not lived up to this hype whatsoever and for me is one of his least worthwhile works to date.

The biggest problem here is the personality of the album. Previous albums by Alice Cooper have not necessarily followed a strict routine nor have they always been the most serious. Often his works have had a sinister vibe as his character is that of a villain, but you have works such as The Last Temptation which dabbles in morality, even albums such as Hey Stoopid while by no means a stern faced example was at least believable. Welcome 2 My Nightmare is far too much like a cartoon for much of it and unconvincing at that. Obviously influenced by new best mate Rob Zombie and his more OTT, animated style to shock rock, W2MN sounds as if Alice Cooper has spent far too much time with The Muppets.

This isn't to say that W2MN is completely flawed, there are some real good moments here. W2MN is classic sounding Alice Cooper mostly but with some changes of pace and style which at times works a treat. Lead single 'I'll Bite Your Face Off' is the perfect Alice Cooper song; sharp and dirty and infectious as hell, it is a brilliant song and perfect for Cooper fans everywhere, 'Caffiene' similarly is very catchy. Rob Zombie pulls a decent cameo appearance in the eerie 'Congregation' which also sounds military and Marilyn Mansonesque.

However for me the flaws outweigh the positives. 'Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever' sounds like he has lost ideas and quickly becomes irritating as hell and is one of the examples of the album being too much like a cartoon ('Ghouls Gone Wild' has a similar effect but at least is a half decent song), whilst ballad 'Something To Remember Me By' and semi- ballad 'I Am Made For You' are simply dull with unconvincing attempts at emotion. There was a lot of hype surrounding this album and I for one was genuinely excited for it; it is such a shame that at much of the album, it sounds like Alice Cooper is making a parody of himself. There is no denying his influence or his legacy or ability, but Welcome 2 My Nightmare is a serious lull in his legendary back catalogue.

[4/10]

Recommended: Caffeine, The Congregation, I'll Bite Your Face Off

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