Alice Cooper’s absolute classic Killer gets a fond remembrance from contemporary bands.
I don’t have any friends who haven’t heard Killer. As I often report, I am a huge Alice Cooper fan from my earliest music listening days and Killer might be my favorite album of his, if there was any way I could choose a favorite. Coming hard on the heels of the band’s first real radio success with “Is It My Body” and especially “I’m Eighteen” from the Love It To Death album, Killer was the record where the combination of radio hits with horror-themed longer tracks coalesced into what Alice Cooper would be known for from that point on into eternity.
I know every song on this album by heart, so listening to new versions of them is a little weird. But you can feel the respect and appreciation from all the contributing bands. They know how important this music is and they are giving it props. Green Lung has the opening track, “Under My Wheels.” They give it a faithful retelling (no horns), including the vocal inflection that Alice put on it way back when. “Be My Lover” gets a spin by The Grand Mal, and here again we are close to the original. It is an excellent celebration.
“Halo Of Flies” is a big test in the sense that it is an expansive, complex eight-minute track. It also received the most scrutiny from me personally because it is my favorite from the 1971 album. Sergeant Thunderhoof deserves a medal for this one – it is incredible in every way. I want to see them do it live.
Ritual King has “Desperado,” the closest thing to a ballad in the set and they take it off in a very different direction. The other two short songs are delivered beautifully by 1968 for “You Drive Me Nervous” in a groove-doomy reinterpretation and Trippy Wicked & the Cosmic Children of the Knight on “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah,” which they drive to an even deeper dungeon of doom than 1968 did.
And what’s left? “Dead Babies” and “Killer.” Mos Generator gets the former and the title track goes to Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell. “Killer” has that snappy jazz in its reincarnation here that it had before but this time it is taken into an alternate universe. Mos Generator’s rendition of “Dead Babies” is closer to the laid lines, although heavier and fuzzier –something that can be said for all the songs, really.
There are four bonus tracks on the CD version: “I’m Eighteen” by Alunah, “Billion Dollar Babies” by Suns of Thunder, “Muscle of Love” by Possessor, and “Sick Things” by Sound of Origin. These are all admirable additions. In fact we could go on and on, couldn’t we. There are tons of other Alice Cooper songs I’d like to see covered, but then that would become a series.
The album at hand is a genuine delight for a long-time fan of Alice Cooper. Surely, followers of the contemporary contributing bands will also be glad to hear these tracks that are new for them. Highly recommended.
Killer: 50 Years Later hits the streets on November 27, 2021 to mark the 50th anniversary of the original album’s release.
Pale Wizard Records, https://palewizardrecords.bandcamp.com/music
Green Lung, https://greenlung.bandcamp.com/
Sergeant Thunderhoof, https://sergeantthunderhoof.bandcamp.com/
Mos Generator, https://mosgenerator.bandcamp.com/
Ritual King, https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/ritual-king
The Grand Mal, https://thegrandmal.bandcamp.com/album/the-grand-mal
Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell, https://riseaboverecords.com/artists/riseaboveartists/admiralsircloudesleyshovell/
Trippy Wicked & the Cosmic Children of the Knight, https://trippywicked.bandcamp.com/album/three-leaves
Suns of Thunder, https://sunsofthunder.bandcamp.com/
Sound of Origin, https://soundoforigin.bandcamp.com/