8/4/2017 - Review by: Eric Compton
Paranormal is really a throwback to 60s rock and roll in a lot of waysIt has been six-years between studio albums for this iconic rocker. 'Welcome 2 My Nightmare' (2011) was a well-received comeback style record that pleased fans young and old. At 69-years of age Alice has been extremely active on the tour circuit, burning up the roads in the US and Europe supporting acts like Motley Crue on the big stages while entertaining theaters and larger clubs with his headline performances. He's been busy, productive and once again has released a new set of studio cuts entitled 'Paranormal'. Long-time collaborator Bob Ezrin produces while performing keys, organ and effects.
'Paranormal' is really a throwback to 60s rock and roll in a lot of ways. Songs like 'Dynamite Road', written by Cooper, Ezrin and guitarist Tommy Denander (Paul Stanley, Deep Purple), are elementary approaches to blues-based rock and roll. It's simple, to the point but fun as Hell. Alice is having fun with it and that easily conveys positive emotion with the listener. I love the hooky third track 'Fireball', sort of a 50s "end of the world" vibe that is enhanced by Cooper's use of distorted vocals. The track was written by guitarist Dennis Dunaway and Cooper, the same duo that performed together as far back as 1969 and are credited with classics like "School's Out" and "I'm Eighteen". Validity to infinity. Opening title-track has that ethereal, eerie vibe with the softer and harder trade-offs. Cooper uses distorted vocals again for effect and Deep Purple legend Roger Glover performs bass. The album's message is fun and uplifting but still contains some social subtext. "Holy Water" is a bit of hypocrisy exposed. "Dead Flies" talks about how our society is so susceptible to lies and "fake news". I love the lyrics, "They'll drive you to the edge and they'll leave you to die. Infected by the venom of their vicious, viral lies. It's all lies. We're dead flies."
In terms of personnel, Cooper employs a host of friends and colleagues. Tommy Denander and Tommy Henriksen both return to play guitar. They collaborated with Cooper on 'Welcome 2 My Nightmare' as well as bassist Dennis Dunaway, who wrote three songs on the album and performed on five. Cooper's old drummer Neal Smith even makes an appearance to perform on two songs and cowrite "Genuine American Girl". This song and "You and All of Your Friends" features a majority of Cooper's old bandmates from the 60s and 70s including Michael Bruce and Steve Hunter.
Overall, another quality album from the rock and roll legend. I hope there are many more to come…but at 69-years of age one has to consider there may not be too many studio albums left to make. Alice Cooper isn't immortal...but like the cover says, he is "Paranormal".
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