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Alice Cooper
Paranormal
Type: CD
Company: Ear Music
Release: 2017
Genre: Hard Rock
Reviewer: Eric Compton
Published: 8/4/2017
Paranormal is really a throwback to 60s rock and roll in a lot of ways
It 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".
About this Writer:
Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has served as senior editor for MaximumMetal.com for nearly 10 years and is the author of the heavy metal book series--Denim & Letters. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia.

Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

The best way to determine how much you may like certain music is to listen to it yourself.



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ParanormalAlice Cooper
2017
Eric Compton8/4/2017


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