Sunday, August 3, 2008
Along Came A Spider
Review by Nightwatcher
After the disappointment of the overblown and pompous slab of Spinal Tap-ism that is Judas Priest's 'Nostradamus', I was really looking for a pick me up album to come along to lift me out of the doldrums I've been feeling concerning mainstream hard rock/metal. And, lo and behold, here comes Alice Cooper to snap me out of it with his third best album of the 2000's with 'Along Came A Spider'.
Much more produced than his past two efforts, 'The Eyes Of Alice Cooper' and 2005's 'Dirty Diamonds', which tred down the path of garage rock, this concept album (gasp!) hearkens back to the sound of other similar styled thematically linked albums, 2001's 'Dragontown', 1994's 'The Last Temptation' and even 1975's 'Welcome To My Nightmare'. Not quite as good as the three just mentioned, but decidedly a step up from the stripped down rawness of the previous two albums.
Described on Cooper's 'Nights With Alice Cooper' radio show as being the story of a cool, calm and collected serial killer named Spider, and the eight victims he needs to kill in order to live. Spider’s victims, who are cocooned in a silk web are each missing a leg. Spider’s task is to collect eight legs in order to complete the construction of his own spider, however, things get complicated when he falls in love with his eighth victim. Not exactly your classic boy meets girl, boy gets girl type of story. But it fits well and is normal within the Cooper mindset at least.
More of a return musically speaking to his late 80's comeback material, which means the production is more glossy and featuring more arena rock moves, the 12 tracks here are fairly upbeat in contrast to the storyline. Some may wish a return to the creepiness of such fare as "Ballad Of Dwight Frye", "Halo Of Flies" or "I Love The Dead" from the original band, but you won't find much of that here.
Containing not many surprises, even featuring a classic sounding Cooper 70's styled ballad in "Killed By Love", and a couple of ties to his first solo album 'Welcome To My Nightmare', there's still enough rock to recommend, including the album's first single "Vengeance Is Mine", which features a guest solo courtesy of ex Guns N' Roses/current Velvet Revolver guitarist Slash, and the Ozzy Osbourne co written "Wake The Dead", that by the time the ballad comes along you won't mind as much. With anthem like choruses, slick guitar hooks and Cooper still in fine voice, although this won't rank as one of his finest, it's still a good effort, and if you're a fan you'll find a lot to hang onto. 8/10
Posted by Nightwatcher at 7:53 PM