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Alice Cooper – Welcome to My Nightmare [Review]

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Alice Cooper – Welcome to My Nightmare
1975, Atlantic Records

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1. “Welcome to My Nightmare”
2. “Devil’s Food”
3. “The Black Widow”
4. “Some Folks”
5. “Only Women Bleed”
6. “Department of Youth”
7. “Cold Ethyl”
8. “Years Ago”
9. “Steven”
10. “The Awakening”
11. “Escape”

Why can I say? No knock on the Alice Cooper group but this is the best album to feature the Alice Cooper name. It’s a shame that the original band members couldn’t have carried on together but with the songwriting help of producer Bob Ezrin and guitarists Dick Wagner and Steve Hunter a classic album was indeed delivered here.

I never really stopped to think about why this album was released through Atlantic Records while the original Alice Cooper group and the rest of Alice’s solo albums up through 1983 were all released on Warner Bros. Records. What I discovered is the fact that it was a solo release came into play in addition to Welcome to My Nightmare being considered as somewhat of a soundtrack for a TV special and stage show.

Conceived with live performances in mind, this album features Alice at his most theatrical. “Welcome to My Nightmare” is one of the all-time great openers for a live show. “Devil’s Food”, with its audio effects, serve to take you only further in the nightmare. “Only Women Bleed” is the type of classic ballad that Alice has tried to replicate many times throughout his career. “Department of Youth”, “The Black Widow” and “Cold Ethyl” are fist-pumping rockers, with the lyrics to “Cold Ethyl” delivering some truly sick humor. “Some Folks” and “The Awakening” take their influence from show tunes and musicals. “Years Ago” is just plain haunting with Alice giving creepy performance and “Steven” is more of the same and one of my favorite Alice songs of all time. “Escape” closes the album on a more upbeat note.

I don’t have a personal connection with this album like I do with Trash (my first Alice album) but there’s no denying that Welcome to My Nightmare is Alice Cooper’s most consistent and greatest release. There is no filler here. This is the album that solidified Alice as a legend. Definitely worthy of cranking up on Halloween!

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R.I.P. Sammi Curr (1947 – 1986)

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Sammi Curr
1947 – 1986

One metal legend that I’ve never really discussed has been “Rock’s Chosen Warrior” — Sammi Curr.  A former student at Lakeridge High School, Sammi’s aspirations went higher than being stuck in his small town. It’s no secret that Sammi was an angry young man growing up. He cared little for authority and used his rebellious nature to propel himself to the top of the heavy metal heap in the mid-1980s. With his dangerous attitude and shock rock antics, he became a rock icon, a living legend, and amassed a large loyal teenage fanbase.

Sammi was a controversial figure during his time. While popular with teenagers, his music, lyrics and stage show were extremely controversial with parents, schools, politicians and members of the religious community. In a time when bands like Megadeth, W.A.S.P. and Motley Crue ruled the airwaves, it was Sammi Curr that felt the wrath of the media and concerned citizens the most.

That’s not to say that Sammi didn’t encourage the controversy though. Ego was another driving factor for Curr. He thrived on the adoration of his young fans and on the hatred of his detractors. Like many rock stars, Sammi wanted the attention and he lived the image of the “bad boy” to its fullest. You can’t drink blood straight from a snake’s mouth onstage and not expect some people to get up in arms about it.

Spending the majority of his music career signed to Waste City Records, some of Curr’s most loved (and despised) songs are “Trick or Treat”, “Fuck With Fire”, “Burn in Metal” and “Torture’s Too Kind”. It was in those last three songs that he used the technique of backmasking. Whether done for fun and as a gimmick or if there was a more sinister intention there, I don’t know. There are many who will argue either side.

In October 1986, Sammi petitioned to play a free concert at his old high school’s Halloween dance. He was denied this opportunity by the PTA and died just days before Halloween, under mysterious circumstances, in a hotel fire.

Sammi’s final album was to be called Songs in the Key of Death but it has never been released to the public in its entirety. The demos were set to debut on a local radio station in Sammi’s hometown at midnight on Halloween (per Sammi’s request) in 1986 but there was a malfunction with the broadcast. The demos have since gone missing.

Sammi Curr lived fast and died young. Perhaps for someone him, there was no other way.

“You cannot legislate morality, or music, or people’s minds… or we’ll bring you down, man!” – Sammi Curr

Alice Cooper – The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper [Review]

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Alice Cooper – The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper
1999, Rhino Records

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Disc 1
“Don’t Blow Your Mind” – The Spiders (1966) – 2:36
“Hitch Hike” – The Spiders (1965) – 2:01
“Why Don’t You Love Me” – The Spiders (1965) – 1:57
“Lay Down And Die, Goodbye” (Original Version) – The Nazz (1967) – 2:07
“Nobody Likes Me” – (demo version – 1968) – 3:23
“Levity Ball” – (studio version – 1968) – 4:45
“Reflected” – (Pretties for You – 1969) – 3:14
“Mr. and Misdemeanor” – (Easy Action – 1970) – 3:00
“Refrigerator Heaven” – (Easy Action – 1970) – 1:54
“Caught in a Dream” – (single version – 1971) – 2:55
“I’m Eighteen” – (Love It to Death – 1971) – 2:58
“Is It My Body?” – (Love It to Death – 1971) – 2:39
“Ballad of Dwight Fry” – (Love It to Death – 1971) – 6:34
“Under My Wheels” – (Killer – 1971) – 2:47
“Be My Lover” – (Killer – 1971) – 3:21
“Desperado” – (Killer – 1971) – 3:29
“Dead Babies” – (Killer – 1971) – 5:42
“Killer” – (Killer – 1971) – 7:05
“Call It Evil” – (demo – 1971) – 3:28
“Gutter Cat Vs. The Jets” – (School’s Out – 1972) – 4:39
“School’s Out” – (single version – 1972) – 3:31

Disc 3

“It’s Hot Tonight” – (Lace and Whiskey – 1977) – 3:21
“You and Me” – (single version – 1977) – 3:25
“I Miss You” – (Billion Dollar Babies – Battle Axe – 1977) – 3:31
“No Time for Tears” – (Sextette film outtake – 1977) – 2:59
“Because (featuring The Bee Gees)” – (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band film – 1978) – 2:45
“From the Inside” – (single version – 1979) – 3:30
“How You Gonna See Me Now” – (From the Inside – 1978) – 3:53
“Serious” – (From the Inside – 1978) – 2:41
“No Tricks” – (single B-side – 1978) – 4:15
“Road Rats” – (Roadie film – 1980) – 2:43
“Clones (We’re All)” – (single version – 1980) – 2:51
“Pain” – (Flush the Fashion – 1980) – 4:10
“Who Do You Think We Are” – (single version – 1981) – 3:05
“Look at You Over There, Ripping The Sawdust From My Teddybear” – (demo – 1981) – 3:18
“For Britain Only” – (UK-only single – 1982) – 3:02
“I Am the Future” – (single version – 1982) – 3:45
“Tag, You’re It” – (Zipper Catches Skin – 1982) – 2:52
“Former Lee Warmer” – (DaDa – 1983) – 4:07
“I Love America” – (DaDa – 1983) – 3:47
“Identity Crisis” – (Monster Dog film – 1984) – 2:50
“See Me in the Mirror” – (Monster Dog film – 1984) – 3:12
“Hard Rock Summer” – (Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives film – 1986) – 2:30

Disc 2
“Hello Hooray” – (Billion Dollar Babies – 1973) – 4:15
“Elected” – (single version – 1973) – 3:43
“Billion Dollar Babies” – (Billion Dollar Babies – 1973) – 3:39
“No More Mr. Nice Guy” – (Billion Dollar Babies – 1973) – 3:07
“I Love the Dead” – (Billion Dollar Babies – 1973) – 5:07
“Slick Black Limousine” – (Flexi-disc from New Musical Express – 1973) – 4:27
“Respect for the Sleepers” – (demo – 1973) – 3:48
“Muscle of Love” – (Muscle of Love – 1973) – 3:45
“Teenage Lament ’74” – (Muscle of Love – 1973) – 3:52
“Working Up a Sweat” – (Muscle of Love – 1973) – 3:31
“Man with the Golden Gun” – (Muscle of Love – 1973) – 3:13
“I’m Flash” – (Flash Fearless Versus The Zorg Women – 1975) – 2:47
“Space Pirates” – (Flash Fearless Versus The Zorg Women – 1975) – 3:30
“Welcome to My Nightmare” – (single version – 1975) – 2:54
“Only Women Bleed” – (single version – 1975) – 3:17
“Cold Ethyl” – (Welcome to My Nightmare – 1975) – 2:54
“Department of Youth” – (Welcome to My Nightmare – 1975) – 3:17
“Escape” – (Welcome to My Nightmare – 1975) – 3:14
“I Never Cry” – (Alice Cooper Goes to Hell – 1976) – 3:43
“Go to Hell” – (Alice Cooper Goes to Hell – 1976) – 5:11

Disc 4


“He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)” – (Demo – 1986) – 3:20
“He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)” – (Movie Mix) (Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives film – 1986) – 3:44
“Teenage Frankenstein” – (Constrictor – 1986) – 3:32
“Freedom” – (Raise Your Fist and Yell – 1987) – 4:04
“Prince of Darkness” – (Raise Your Fist and Yell – 1987) – 5:09
“Under My Wheels” – (The Decline of Western Civilization II film – 1988) – 3:10
“I Got a Line On You” – (Iron Eagle II film – 1988) – 2:59
“Poison” – (Trash – 1989) – 4:27
“Trash” – (Trash – 1989) – 3:58
“Only My Heart Talkin” – (Trash – 1989) – 4:44
“Hey Stoopid” – (Single Version from Hey Stoopid – 1991) – 4:15
“Feed My Frankenstein” – (Hey Stoopid – 1991) – 4:42
“Fire” – (single b-side – 1991) – 3:00
“Lost in America” – (The Last Temptation – 1994) – 3:54
“It’s Me” – (The Last Temptation – 1994) – 4:40
“Hands of Death” (Spookshow 2000 Mix) – with Rob Zombie – (Remix of the version on “Songs in the Key of X” soundtrack – 1996) – 3:53
“Is Anyone Home?” – (A Fistful of Alice – 1997) – 4:10
“Stolen Prayer” – (The Last Temptation – 1994) – 5:35

As you can see by the wall of text (which hopefully was formatted and will post correctly) devoted to 81 songs spread out over 4 discs and, wow, this is what a box set should be. I’ve seen some labels use the box set as an excuse to release a series of albums together in their entirety or to basically do a giant-size greatest hits but The Life and Crimes… really hit the nail on the head. Sure, you get the greatest hits, the best of, the fan favorites but it’s the number of oddities and rarities that makes this a box set worth owning.

Not a single album goes untouched and this box set starts at the very beginning back when the original Alice Cooper group started out as The Spiders and then The Nazz and goes right up to 1997 when Alice released “Is Anyone Home?” as a new studio track on his live A Fistful of Alice album. Then you’ve got demos, singles, songs from soundtracks (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club BandMonster DogFriday the 13th Part VI!), remixes, B-sides, the previously UK-exclusive “For Britain Only”, etc. This one really has it all for the Alice Cooper fan!

The collection here features some of Alice’s best work and others would argue some of his worst (like his weird stuff from the late to mid ’80s). All told, warts and all, this is an excellent overview of Alice Cooper’s career.

For me, this was a great introduction to much of Alice Cooper’s catalog. Unfortunately, over time, I lost the actual box and booklet that came with the set. Oh well, at least I still have all of the CDs. I don’t think the price has dropped much over the years on this one. I think it was about $60 when it was first released but even if you’re paying $40-50 today, this is a worthy purchase for Alice fans.

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Alice Cooper – Lace and Whiskey [Review]

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Alice Cooper – Lace and Whiskey
1977, Warner Bros. Records
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1. “It’s Hot Tonight”
2. “Lace and Whiskey”
3. “Road Rats”
4. “Damned If You Do”
5. “You and Me”
6. “King of the Silver Screen”
7. “Ubangi Stomp”
8. “(No More) Love at Your Convenience”
9. “I Never Wrote Those Songs”
10. “My God”

Producer: Bob Ezrin

This is one of those “Alice has started drinking too much” albums that I always assumed would be incredibly cheesy and spotty without ever listening to it fully. I already knew of “It’s Hot Tonight”, “You and Me” and “Road Rats” due to their inclusion on the Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper box set. “Road Rats” I never cared for (though the version on that box set is a remixed 1980 version), but I’ve always loved “It’s Hot Tonight and “You and Me”.

Too many session players to list for this album (which was  but just know that leading the way is Alice, Bob Ezrin and guitarists Dick Wagner & Steve Hunter.

Lace and Whiskey is yet another semi-concept album with Alice debuting a brand-new character in the form of private investigator Maurice Escargot. While the whole thing comes off as very cheesy (and given that this album was inspired by showtunes and 1940s/1950s music, I’m sure that’s the point), I wouldn’t say it’s a spotty record. There’s a few duds like “Road Rats”, “King of the Silver Screen” & “Ubangi Stomp” but the rest is excellent, even if you might be able to consider most of them guilty pleasures.

“It’s Hot Tonight” is about nothing more than sex. I’m completely okay with that. “Lace and Whiskey” really hammers home the theme of being a private eye with a film noir style. A great vibe that Alice would similarly capture on the song “Dirty Diamonds” years later.

“You and Me” is Alice Cooper doing an easy listening ballad. Did the demon in the bottle make him do it or were Alice and producer Bob Ezrin looking for a big-time radio hit? Regardless, the song found itself charting at #9 on the Billboard charts as a single and the legacy continues because, as someone who used to work a day shift at Walgreens just a few years ago, I can tell you this song was played nearly every day before noon. It’s a great song but in the long run it probably did more damage than good as far as Cooper’s fanbase was concerned.

“(No More) Love at Your Convenience” is quite possibly my favorite track from this album. Such a guilty pleasure. Alice goes disco! “I Never Wrote Those Songs” is another easy listening ballad (complete with saxophone solo), but has a clever theme to it. “My God” in another fantastic piece that features a church organ.

Lace and Whiskey is definitely an oddball Alice album. He really went outside the box with this one and dropped the shock rock gimmick, but it’s a good effort for the most part and worth seeking out.

Highlights: “It’s Hot Tonight”, “Lace and Whiskey”, “You and Me”, “(No More) Love at Your Convenience”, “I Never Wrote Those Songs”, “My God”

http://alicecooper.com
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Eric Carr – Unfinished Business

Eric Carr – Unfinished Business (2011, Auto Rock Records)

1. Eric speaks to the fans
2. “Just Can’t Wait”
3. “Troubles Inside You”
4. Eric talks about his music
5. “No One’s Messin’ With You”
6. “Carr Jam 1981”
7. Eric talks about audition
8. “Shandi”
9. “All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose”
10. “Dial L For Love”
11. “Elephant Man”
12. Eric Talks about Mark St. John
13. “Midnite Stranger”
14. “Eyes Of Love”
15. Bill Aucoin talks about Eric
16. “Through The Years”
17. “I Cry at Night”
18. Eric kidding around at a Kiss album rehearsal

Producer: Linda Caravello & Beth Jordan

On the 20 year anniversary of Eric Carr’s death, the Caravello (Carr) family decided to honor Eric by releasing Unfinished Business, an album featuring a number of  Eric’s demos that were recently fleshed out and re-recorded with the aid of a number of musicians. Also featured are voice clips of Eric Carr. A similar project called Rockology was released by the family in 1999 but that album was nothing but demos & rough mixes with the only tampering being done by former KISS band mate Bruce Kulick who tried to re-mix the tracks and improve production as best he could.

Notes about the songs:

– “Just Can’t Wait” (1987) was originally released on Rockology as an instrumental but this time around there are lyrics & vocals for it and there’s a good reason this new version comes off like Danger Danger — Ted Poley sings on it. I think it was one of the better songs from Rockology. It’s nice to hear it with a vocal track but I think it still stands as a great instrumental as well.

– “Troubles Inside You” (1987) features KISS collaborator Mitch Weissman on vocals. Sound quality isn’t that great given that it’s a demo but it’s a cool rocker.

– “No One’s Messin’ With You” (1989) is an early demo of what would morph into “Little Caesar” from Hot in the Shade.

– “Carr Jam 1981” (which originally appeared on KISS’ Revenge album) & “All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose” (originally appeared on KISS’ Lick It Up album) are covers by the band ZO2.

– “Shandi” features Eric on vocals and comes from his 1980 KISS audition. These demo tapes remained lost until 2006 when they were rediscovered by Eric Carr’s family. The entire four-song audition was produced on CD in extremely limited quantities and released as The 1980 KISS Audition EP and sold through http://www.EricCarr.com. This particular version lifts Eric’s vocals from the audition tape and adds new music performances and arrangement.

– “Dial L for Love” is a near complete demo track (no vocals) from 1987. Could’ve been a really good rocker.

– “Elephant Man” never got past the lyrics stage in 1991 when Eric passed away. Music was composed for this song from scratch by Bob Gilmartin (who provides vocals & guitar) and Nick Clements. Eric’s sister and niece sing backing vocals, Twisted Sister’s A.J. Pero plays drums and Europe’s Kee Marcello provided lead guitar on the intro.

– “Midnite Stranger” comes from a demo that Eric had given ex-KISS lead guitarist Mark St. John back in 1986. Mark had contacted the Carr family in 2006 and gave them the tape and the plan was for St. John to add more guitar parts but the project was never completed due to Mark’s passing away in 2007.

– “Eyes of Love” is another song that was originally on Rockology. This version is considerably better with newly recorded music. All of Eric’s vocals remain while Seether’s John Humphrey plays the drums and Benny Doro plays everything else.

– “Through The Years” is a compilation recordings of Eric on drums from his teenage years up to live performances with KISS. Very cool thing to hear.

– “I Cry At Night” is a song from 1967. It was written by Eric and recorded by The Cellarmen, which was his very first band. Very much inspired by the Beatles and general rock/pop sound of bands at the time.

The rest of the tracks are short sound clips from interviews either with Eric or about Eric.

Overall, this is a great disc for KISS fans to add to their collection. Carr is one of the most loved members the band has ever had and this is another great trip back in time to see what a cool guy and great talent he was. Hopefully the Carr family has more demos and outtakes ready to go because I’d love for third album to come along. Hopefully we’ll get some new kick-ass versions of “Somebody’s Waiting”, “Nightmare” and “Can You Feel It” if that ever comes about!

Highlights: “Just Can’t Wait”, “Troubles Inside You”, “Shandi”, “All Hell’s Breakin’ Loose”, “Eyes of Love”, “Through The Years”

www.EricCarr.com
www.facebook.com/pages/Eric-Carr-Official/146128105398320

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W.A.S.P. – Still Not Black Enough

W.A.S.P. – Still Not Black Enough [Remastered] (2001, Metal-Is Records)
Original Release: 1995, Raw Power

1. “Still Not Black Enough” … 4:02
2. “Somebody to Love” … 2:50
3. “Black Forever” … 3:17
4. “Scared To Death” … 5:02
5. “Goodbye America” … 4:46
6. “Keep Holding On” … 4:04
7. “Rock And Roll To Death” … 3:44
8. “Breathe” … 3:44
9. “I Can’t” … 3:07
10. “No Way Out Of Here” … 3:39

Band:
Blackie Lawless – Vocals, Bass, Guitar, Keyboards, Sitar
Bob Kulick – Guitar
Frankie Banali – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Mark Joesphson – Violin
Stet Howland – Percussion
Tracey Whitney – Backing Vocals
K.C. Calloway – Backing Vocals

Producer: Blackie Lawless

Being a mid-90s W.A.S.P. album, I wasn’t expecting much from Still Not Black Enough, which really isn’t fair because Blackie came come up with at least a few decent tunes every album. The album was originally intended to be a solo album for Blackie but he later decided to put the W.A.S.P. name on it (for purely financial reasons, I’m sure).

Regardless of the name on the cover, it’s always going to have a hard time NOT sounding like W.A.S.P. because Blackie IS W.A.S.P. It really doesn’t matter who is backing him up, it’s Blackie’s band and he’s the sole creative driving force so solo or not, there’s a certain sound any of his albums are gonna have. I’ve always found this especially true when it comes to the drumming.

There’s a couple of songs that are most definitely W.A.S.P.y — “Still Not Black Enough”, “Black Forever” and “No Way Out of Here”, and the cover of Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love” are obvious W.A.S.P. rockers but there’s some nice variety to this album as well. “Keep Holding On” and “Breath” are tender ballads you definitely wouldn’t expect from any album labeled as W.A.S.P., but they are cool tunes and show Blackie trying a different style of vocals and I love the lyrics on “Keep Holding On”. “Rock And Roll To Death” has a ’50s rock ‘n’ roll much in the same vein as “Johnny B. Good”. “I Can’t” is a good mid-tempo bluesy number that turns into typical W.A.S.P. when Blackie starts dropping f-bombs.

Overall, this is a very good disc that features Blackie spreading his leathery wings once again while still throwing in enough typical enough sounding W.A.S.P. tunes to keep the faithful interested. After hearing this album, I’m convinced more than ever that Blackie is one of the more underrated artists in the metal realm.

What ticks me off about this album is I ordered it online and discovered it was the 2001 reissue, I saw that the original U.S. release features covers of Queen’s “Tie Your Mother Down” and AC/DC’s “Whole Lotta Rosie” as well two other Blackie originals! That sucks they didn’t make the reissue. Oh well, that’s why they invented YouTube…

Highlights: “Still Not Black Enough”, “Scared To Death”, “Keep Holding On”, “Rock And Roll To Death”, “I Can’t”, “No Way Out of Here”

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www.myspace.com/wasp

Lordi – Babez For Breakfast

Lordi – Babez For Breakfast (2010, The End Records)

1. “SCG5: It’s a Boy!” … 1:21
2. “Babez for Breakfast” … 3:30
3. “This Is Heavy Metal” … 3:01
4. “Rock Police” … 3:58
5. “Discoevil” … 3:49
6. “Call Off the Wedding” … 3:31
7. “I Am Bigger Than You” … 3:04
8. “ZombieRawkMachine” … 3:42
9. “Midnite Lover” … 3:21
10. “Give Your Life for Rock and Roll” … 3:54
11. “Nonstop Nite” … 3:56
12. “Amen’s Lament to Ra” … 0:32
13. “Loud and Loaded” … 3:15
14. “Granny’s Gone Crazy” … 3:56
15. “Devil’s Lullaby” … 3:43

Band:
Mr. Lordi – Lead Vocals
Amen – Guitars
OX – Bass
Kita – Drums, Backing Vocals
Awa – Keyboards

Additional Musicians:
Bruce Kulick – Guitar solo on “Call Off the Wedding”

Producer: Michael Wagener

My first Lordi album! I’ve certainly familiar with the band of the years though. How could I not be? They worship ’80s rock/metal so of course I would know of their existence. I just never felt compelled to buy an album from them. My issue with them has always been their songs always sound so similar and I never really thought it was a great sound in the first place. They’re like the evil and heavier version of Wig Wam. What I do enjoy about this band is that despite their horrific costumes, they have have a sense of humor, great love for the ’80s and are purposefully cheesy. Despite the fact that I’ve grown to despise FYE more than ever, I found myself in that store recently and saw this album for $9.99. With the Halloween season upon us and money to burn, I decided to take the chance.

They aren’t trying to be dark, evil, satanic, obscene or disgusting. They’re just using horror in a fun, schlocky and comedic way using elements of other shock rockers like KISS, Alice Cooper, Motley Crue, Rob Zombie, Twisted Sister and W.A.S.P. This fact is on fully display with the song “This Is Heavy Metal”. Not only does the song completely ripoff KISS’ “War Machine” (lovingly, of course) but the artwork for the single and inside the CD booklet features a metalhead Frankenstein (complete with neck bolts) made up of parts of KISS, Twisted Sister, the Crue and W.A.S.P.! And besides, just check out the album cover! If that’s not ’80s cheese with a side of humor, I don’t know what is!

What really surprised me with this album is the connection it has to 80s rock/metal, other than the influence I mean. Bruce Kulick co-wrote and plays the solo on the ballad “Call Off the Wedding”. Mr. Lordi even sings in a fairly clean vocal style on that song instead of his usual gravelly style and it reminds me of Tobias Sammet. Then you’ve got Mark freakin’ Slaughter playing the role of “dad” on “Granny’s Gone Crazy”. Why not have him sing something too since you had him in the studio? Then Michael Wagener produced and he’s worked in the studio with the likes of Skid Row, Metallica, the Crue, Keel, Dokken, Overkill and White Lion!

I can’t say this is a great album (many of the songs still sound too similar and 15 tracks is overkill) but at $10 it’s an enjoyable disc and I think I got my money’s worth. It pleased this ’80s metal and shock rock fan. It’s a fun album that deals with rock ‘n’ roll, doomed weddings, dancing zombies, the evils of disco, crazy grannies and eating bitches for brunch. Doesn’t that sound fun to you? This album has me thinking I should pick up the previous Lordi albums after all…

Highlights: “Babez for Breakfast”, “This Is Heavy Metal”, “ZombieRawkMachine”, “Give Your Life for Rock and Roll”, “Loud and Loaded”, “Granny’s Gone Crazy”, “Devil’s Lullaby”

http://www.lordi.fi/
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http://www.myspace.com/lordi

ALICE COOPER – Alice Cooper Goes to Hell

Alice Cooper – Alice Cooper Goes to Hell (2008, Warner Bros. Records)
Original Release: 1976, Warner Bros. Records

1. “Go to Hell” … 5:15
2. “You Gotta Dance” … 2:45
3. “I’m the Coolest” … 3:57
4. “Didn’t We Meet” … 4:16
5. “I Never Cry” … 3:44
6. “Give the Kid a Break” … 4:14
7. “Guilty” … 3:22
8. “Wake Me Gently” … 5:03
9. “Wish You Were Here” … 4:36
10. “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows” … 2:08
11. “Going Home” … 3:47

Musicians:
Alice Cooper – Vocals
Dick Wagner – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Steve Hunter – Guitar
John Tropea – Guitar
Tony Levin – Bass
Babbitt – Bass
Allan Schwartzberg – Drums
Jim Gordon – Drums
Jim Maelen – Percussion
Bob Ezrin – Keyboards, Backing Vocals

Producer: Bob Ezrin

…Goes to Hell is a weird album. Then again, you can say that about every Alice release up until the albums became more streamlined beginning in the mid-’80s. First off, the album cover is terrible (but still better than Pretties For You!). When I first saw this album years ago at the old Camelot Music store and was just starting to get into Alice, I actually thought it was a low budget compilation disc judging by the pitiful artwork. It certainly had the retail price to go with it. For as long as I can remember this album could and still can be found for $6-8 bucks. I got this particular version (a part of Warner’s “Flashback” series) for $5.99 from Barnes & Noble.

I can’t lie, the song “Go To Hell” is classic Alice. Years before ever listening to this album I was familiar with it because it appeared on The Life and Crimes of Alice Cooper box set, which I also own. I absolutely love it. It shows Alice in fine lyrical form talking about force feeding diabetics candy canes and poisoning a blind man’s dog (and even stealing his cane) After that rip-roaring opening classic we get disco Alice in the form of “You Gotta Dance”. It’s so bad it’s good but I can’t call it an album highlight.

The whole album basically sounds like the soundtrack to a musical. It features tons of different styles: disco rock, sappy pop ballads, ’50s doo-wop, rock ‘n’ roll, and weird laid back numbers like “I’m The Coolest”. When I hear that song, I can’t help but think of it as a song that you might hear on a Charlie Brown or early Garfield cartoon special. If you’ve ever see’em, you know what I’m talking about, those specials always had weird trippy songs.

Though there are a handful of songs that I found myself enjoying but there are only two classics, IMO. Alongside “Go To Hell”, there’s “I Never Cry” which is one of my favorite ballads from Alice but it was another song I was already familiar with thanks to the box set. I can’t help but try to sing along to it whenever I hear it.

This was the second of four albums (the others being Welcome to My Nightmare, Lace & Whiskey and DaDa) where basically Alice Cooper was more of a conceptual effort with Alice, Dick Wagner and Bob Ezrin guiding the ship. Ezrin already had a long history with the original Alice Cooper band and Wagner had played on some of their albums as well.was technically a solo act by this point but Ezrin and Wagner participated so heavily on these albums you could almost say that they were new Alice Cooper band.

Overall, this is an okay release but certainly not a classic and a pretty disappointing follow-up to Welcome to My Nightmare. Alice didn’t even tour for this album due to alcohol problems, which may help explain why this album isn’t up to snuff!

Highlights: “Go To Hell”, “I Never Cry”, “Didn’t We Meet”, “Wake Me Gently”, “Wish You Were Here”

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W.A.S.P. – The Sting/Helldorado

W.A.S.P. – The Sting/Helldorado (2005, Snapper Music)

I LOVE when albums get compiled like this. Why spend $10-15 a piece when I can get them together for $10? I think the Snapper label mostly does reissues but they do them well, at least where W.A.S.P. is concerned. Cool digipaks full of photos and information. If you’re ever in need of a W.A.S.P. album, you should check to see if Snapper has reissued it because they’ve done so for many of them.

By the way, I probably care more about band logos and album covers than most people so I feel like I should mention the W.A.S.P. logo SUCKED for these two albums. It looks like something some kid would sketch out on his notebook during school. The Sting cover art is pretty awful as well.

Disc 1: The Sting: Live at the Key Club (2000, Snapper Music)

1. “Helldorado” … 3:20
2. “Inside the Electric Circus” … 1:45
3. “Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue)” … 5:47
4. “Wild Child” … 6:51
5. “L.O.V.E. Machine” … 6:15
6. “Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)” … 5:16
7. “Sleeping (In the Fire)” … 6:24
8. “Damnation Angels” … 5:59
9. “Dirty Balls” … 5:05
10. “The Real Me” … 4:02
11. “I Wanna Be Somebody” … 8:23
12. “Blind In Texas” … 6:57

Band:
Blackie Lawless – Vocals, Guitar
Chris Holmes – Guitar
Mike Duda – Bass
Stet Howland – Drums

Recorded April 22, 2000. Didn’t really care about getting this album, I just wanted Helldorado and figured I might as well get two albums for $10 instead of one album for $10. The show was streamed live online. Not sure if it was free or not to do so but according to the liner notes for this collection (which are actually quite hilarious) 10,000 people streamed it and 100,000 people tried to stream it but were not able to do so. Somehow, I think both of those numbers are inflated and how would they even know who wasn’t able to listen to? You might as well say the other six billion people in the world tried to stream it but only that lucky 10,000 were able to do so.

I’ve seen this show being knocked as lifeless but I think negative feelings for Helldorado (three songs from that album are featured) are playing a part in some critics’ overall opinion of the album. Then again, this is the band’s THIRD live album, so I assume perhaps for most that one live W.A.S.P. album is enough. I’ve never been the biggest fan of live albums, but I personally think the album is fine for what it is even if Blackie himself isn’t happy with the production. As to who actually produced it, I’m not sure, I couldn’t find any info.

This album was originally packaged with the DVD of the show.

Highlights: “Inside the Electric Circus”, “Wild Child”, “L.O.V.E. Machine”, “The Real Me”, “I Wanna Be Somebody”

Disc 2: Helldorado (1999, CMC International Records)

1. “Drive By” … 0:55
2. “Helldorado” … 5:05
3. “Don’t Cry (Just Suck)” … 4:16
4. “Damnation Angels” … 6:27
5. “Dirty Balls” … 5:19
6. “High on the Flames” … 4:11
7. “Cocaine Cowboys” … 3:57
8. “Can’t Die Tonight” … 4:04
9. “Saturday Night Cockfight” … 3:20
10. “Hot Rods to Hell (Helldorado Reprise)” … 4:14

Band:
Blackie Lawless – Vocals, Guitar
Chris Holmes – Guitar
Mike Duda – Bass
Stet Howland – Drums

Producer: Blackie Lawless

I remember when this album first came out. 1999 was about the time I was heavily starting to get into the whole ’80s metal scene and I remember Metal Edge magazine and the Metal Sludge website both reviewing this album. As I recall, the reviews weren’t glowing which is probably why it took me over a decade to finally pick it up. The reason I did so is because I’m a W.A.S.P. fan and I wanted to form an opinion for myself. I also have to admit the fact that the lyrics on this album have been described as “vile” really piqued my interest.

Lyrically and sonically, the album is a return to form for Blackie and his crew. It’s 1986 all over again but this time the lyrics are even more outrageous. I guess Blackie was hoping for lightning to strike twice and become singled out as a controversial artist again but by 1999 no one was paying attention to any new contributions from the ’80s veterans.

Blackie has claimed in recent years that he is a reformed Christian so I would really love to hear his thoughts on this album these days. There’s some really twisted humor here backed up by tons of anger and misogyny. Often times all in the same song! Granted, this is generally how you could describe W.A.S.P. except this time it’s turned up to ELEVEN. His head seems like it was probably in a really bad place at the time to feel the need to revert back to such a snarling primitive beast after hitting upon mature themes and concepts (that garnered much praise, mind you) from the last few albums.

This is an obscene and crass album, more so than any other W.A.S.P. release. I’m not really offended or put off by it. I highly doubt I’ll ever get a hankerin’ to play some “Dirty Balls” or “Don’t Cry (Just Suck)” but for better or worse, these are the types of lyrics you put up and become unfazed by when dealing with ’80s metal.

The music itself is what really matters and I have to agree with so many reviews  I’ve read that were not impressed with this release. There’s just something missing here. It sounds like W.A.S.P. but there are very few standout tracks. It’s almost like an album made up entirely of filler and it’s hard to differentiate one song from another.

Highlights: “Helldorado”, “Damnation Angels”, “Dirty Balls”, “Can’t Die Tonight”

www.waspnation.com
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W.A.S.P. – The Last Command

W.A.S.P. – The Last Command [Remastered] (1997, Snapper Classics)
Original Release: 1985, Capitol Records

1. “Wild Child” … 5:12
2. “Ball Crusher” … 3:25
3. “Fistful of Diamonds” … 4:16
4. “Jack Action” … 4:17
5. “Widowmaker” … 5:20
6. “Blind in Texas” … (4:20
7. “Cries in the Night” … 3:41
8. “The Last Command” … 4:10
9. “Running Wild in the Streets” … 3:31
10. “Sex Drive” … 3:02
BONUS TRACKS
11. “Mississippi Queen” … 3:23
12. “Savage” … 3:33
13. “On Your Knees” (live) … 4:41
14. “Hellion” (live) … 5:47
15. “Sleeping (in the Fire)” (live) … 5:45
16. “Animal (F*ck Like a Beast)” (live) … 4:40
17. “I Wanna Be Somebody” (live) … 5:54

Band:
Blackie Lawless – Lead Vocals, Bass
Chris Holmes – Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar
Randy Piper – Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Steve Riley – Drums, Backing Vocals

Producer: Spencer Proffer

I’ve been on a big W.A.S.P. kick thanks to the awesome Babylon, so I decided it was time to add another W.A.S.P. album to my collection and I picked the band’s sophomore effort. The Last Command was never a top priority for me because I’ve read it didn’t compare to the debut. I’m basically just filling holes in my W.A.S.P. collection while cautiously avoiding some of Blackie’s more criticized ’90s and later work. Then again, I’ll probably pick most of those up at some point just because I’m a big fan of Blackie’s voice and he’s never strayed too far from the proven W.A.S.P. sound.

So my response to those that say this album isn’t a good as the debut? You’re crazy. If anything, this album is better. From top to bottom, the album is strong. “Wild Child”, “Ball Crusher”, “Fistful of Diamonds” and “Jack Action” are all classic W.A.S.P. anthems as are “Blind in Texas” and “Sex Drive”. I really like “Cries in the Night” too, which sounds like maybe Blackie was going for a more mainstream glam sound. Blackie mentions in the liner notes that “Cries in the Night” was originally a different song, but changes were made at the request of Capitol. So there you go — Capitol wanted a mainstream glam sound. Odd though since it wasn’t released as a single from what I can tell.

When I first heard “Wild Child”, I think it was from the music video which I caught way back on VH1’s awful Rock Show hosted by that goof Cane. I HATED IT. I don’t know why, maybe I was letting the cheesy video speak for the song, but I just thought it sucked. 10 years later, I think it’s a great W.A.S.P. song. Yeah, the lyrics are pretty bad, but when Blackie sings them with such conviction and lust, how can you not like it?

The Last Command is essential W.A.S.P. and the 1997 remastered version is really cool… SEVEN bonus tracks! We get the really cool cover of Mountain’s signature song (Blackie has always done great covers), a pretty good B-side called “Savage” and then five live tracks recorded back in ’84. Quite a deal for the $7 or $8 I paid for this album.

Highlights: “Wild Child”, “Ball Crusher”, “Fistful of Diamonds”, “Jack Action”, “Blind in Texas”, “Cries in the Night”, “Sex Drive”, “Mississippi Queen”, “Savage”, “Sleeping (In the Fire)” (live)

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