Alice Cooper Metal
Erik Rupp | Southern California | 02/15/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
""If you don't like it you can lock me up!"
Well, if you're a fan of straightforward Heavy Metal (not Thrash Metal, or Power Metal, or Death Metal - or any other Metal subgenre - just good, traditional Heavy Metal) then chances are you'll like Raise Your Fist and Yell.
Alice's previous album, Constrictor, hinted at moving in this direction. It was a combination of Alice's 70's music combined with mid 80's Pop Metal. It was a good album, but at times seemed a bit watered down and half hearted. All that changed with Raise Your Fist and Yell.
Alice and co-conspirators Kane Roberts (guitar), Kip Winger (bass, backing vocals), and Ken Mary (drums) took the power up a notch and created the perfect blending of Alice's unique vocal style (not to mention his unique lyric writing style) with 80's Heavy Metal. What they ended up with was a classic album.
Opening up with the anthemic, "Freedom," Alice shows right of the bat that he means business this time. No more half measures - no more playing it safe to attempt to placate his old fans (whom I'm sure there was some concern in the Cooper camp that a full on Metal album would alienate), this was going to be an in-your-face Alice Cooper on musical steroids album. Beyond the attitude and the aggressiveness of the song, "Freedom," has some great vocal melodies, great riffs, and one hell of a chorus hook.
The album's aural assault doesn't let up until track 9.
Following, "Freedom," is "Lock Me Up," a track that is opened with a great Ken Mary drum intro that leads into a full blown twisted Metal anthem with some amazing vocal hooks and some really fun lyrics from Alice. The anthems don't stop there. "Give the Radio Back," continues the anthemic theme with a slight leaning towards 70's Hard Rock while still firmly rooted in the Metal framework. "Radio," again has strong riffs and memorable vocal melodies.
From there Alice starts moving into more familiar Cooper terriroty with, "Step On You," a song about having a nasty attitute. Think of this one as a Heavy Metal version of, "No More Mr. Nice Guy," only with marching, stomping beat. Again, strong riffs, strong vocal melodies, and a great chorus hook make for another album highlight (on an album filled with highlights).
Alice's twisted love song here is, "Not That Kind of Love," which closes out what was side one of the LP. An Alice Cooper song with a funky riff & beat for a chorus? You bet. But this isn't a Funk song, this is just a great Heavy Metal song with a great sense of groove (not that far removed from the heavier stuff that Whitesnake did in the mid 80's).
Side 2 opened up with, "Prince of Darkness," from the movie of the same name. While this song would have been a highlight on Constrictor here it is merely a strong album cut. It is followed up by another solid album cut, "Time To Kill." Again, on Constrictor this would have been a highlight. Not here.
Then we get to the Trilogy. "Chop, Chop, Chop," "Gail," and "Roses on White Lace." The Jack the Ripper story (or a story about some such character). It's disturbing, unsettling, and yet still compelling. Many fans consider this trilogy the highlight of the album, and there is no question that these three songs finish out the album in a very strong fashion. "Chop," and "Roses," are both very strong Metal songs, while, "Gail," is the one respite from the aggression of the album with some very strong, if dark and twisted Halloweenish melodies.
In the end, Raise Your Fist and Yell was Alice Cooper's strongest album of the 80's, and while that wasn't a huge feat don't let that fool you. This is one of the very best straightforward, traditional Heavy Metal albums of the 80's, period. The production is crisp and powerful, and the performances are all fantastic. Alice proved that he could keep up with the bands that he obviously helped to influence.
Now if you aren't a fan of 80's Heavy Metal (like Judas Priest, Dio, Armored Saint, etc) then this album isn't for you. This is very similar to KISS' 80's material that leaned in the Metal direction (Creatures of the Night, Lick it Up, Animalize), only stronger and more consistent than any of them (from a Metal standpoint).
However, if you do like the bands noted above and the rest of this review makes the album sound intriguing to you then by all means - order this thing today! Raise Your Fist and Yell is a great Heavy Metal album.