Killer: 50 Years Later – An Alice Cooper Tribute Album (Pale Wizard Records 2021)

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.

Links.

Pale Wizard Records, https://palewizardrecords.bandcamp.com/music

Green Lung, https://greenlung.bandcamp.com/

1968, https://1968band.bandcamp.com/music

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

Alunah, https://alunah.uk/

Suns of Thunder, https://sunsofthunder.bandcamp.com/

Possessor, https://possessor.bandcamp.com/

Sound of Origin, https://soundoforigin.bandcamp.com/

Killer: 50 Years Later – An Alice Cooper Tribute Album (Pale Wizard Records 2021)

Alice Cooper, Detroit Stories (earMUSIC 2021)

Rock and Roll icon Alice Cooper takes a nostalgic strut through the historic musical verity of Detroit.

I don’t have to tell you who Alice Cooper is, right? I have written many times about how his music, together with Black Sabbath, Blue Öyster Cult, and Nazareth, were the first sounds I heard that turned me toward the heavy. He did have a period of metal music, but that is not the way he started out and most of his work is in the hard rock lane with plenty of pop rock/metal orientation. Oh, and Shock Rock. Yeah. He did that first.

Cooper was born in 1943 and so he is now 73 years old. How is that affecting his musical composition and performance? Not in any apparent negative way, I can tell you that. I saw him at the Greek Theater in LA a couple summers ago and the show was amazing. The performance was just as energetic and exciting as it was decades ago. I don’t know how he still does it, but he definitely still does.

If you look at his recent studio albums, they are up to a high standard as well. The most recent one was Paranormal in 2017, and it is filled to the brim with rockers and bangers, crisp and cracking. He continues to cover a lot of the same subjects as he has in the past, and if anything he his music has become less gimmicky, leaning more towards a straight-forward rock approach.

There are fifteen tracks on the new album. Cooper’s voice is strong and familiar. And unique. The music is guitar driven hard rock, running radio length. There are a couple songs that are a little longer, but they are all designed to be digestible. There are a couple of stylistic homages in there, but mainly these songs are bangers that cook and move in all the right ways to get you on your feet and going. Songs that have a slower pace tend toward blues or mysteriousness. No ballads at all. The album is exactly what I was hoping for, and it is the perfect follow-up to Paranormal, showing that the quality of that album was no fluke.

When big live shows come back the first thing I am going to do is buy a ticket for wherever Alice Cooper is playing and go see him live again. I didn’t really need any additional motivation to make this oath, but Detroit Stories is nevertheless an extra push. Highly recommended.

You can get Detroit Stories starting now. There are many bundles and versions. The one I liked best is a basic one – the CD and DVD combo that includes A Paranormal Evening At The Olympia Paris. That was a great concert and if you didn’t pick it up already when it came out then here is a great chance to get the add-on.

Links.

Website, https://alicecooper.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/AliceCooper/

Alice Cooper, Detroit Stories (earMUSIC 2021)

T-Shirt Inventory, Sixth Wave

Week six was heavy week at the T-Shirt Inventory Project. By the end of the week I had turned nostalgic and just wanted a beer. Actually, I pretty much always want a beer.

From the “13” Tour.
The Final 2-3 Year Tour.
Green Death.
A Classic Band and a Classic Design.
More Black Sabbath — The End Tour.
One of My Earliest Rock and Roll Influences — Alice Cooper.
My Favorite Bar in Long Beach.

© Wayne Edwards.

T-Shirt Inventory, Sixth Wave