Alice Cooper -Road
Alice Cooper shows once again that he’s a timeless act with his newest record, Road. At 75 years young, the veteran rocker sings about life on the road–the good and the bad–on the appropriately titled album. He brings with him a couple of surprise guests, too, who give it an extra kick.
As if he needed an introduction, Road starts off with “I’m Alice,” in which Cooper sings “I’m Alice/The master of madness/The father of fright.” This song, like many on Road, has that old school classic rock feel. It’s great to hear him take his throne in the same song when he acknowledges his longevity, adding, “The shameless pretenders have come and they’ve gone/But I stand here before you and the legend lives on.” Cooper has fun with the road theme, giving roadies their due on ”Road Rats Forever,” recalling a waitress with “Big Boots,” and describing rock tour debauchery on “All Over the World.” Former Alice Cooper lead guitarist Kane Roberts returns for “Dead Don’t Dance,” which has a more modern rock riff and tone. Another notable guest on guitar is Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine, who lends his tricks on the super-charged “White Line Frankenstein.”
But what makes Road memorable is not the usual rock and roll shenanigan stories; it’s the sincerity and vulnerability that Cooper shows in the songs, highlighting the downside of being in a touring band. The ballad “Baby Please Don’t Go” is about having to leave your partner behind before leaving for the road. Cooper doesn’t shy away from noting what gets lost and left behind when being part of a band that travels. It’s not all partying and fun, and his honesty makes the album more of a whole, fully realized and realistic portrayal of what that life is like being a touring musician. “It’s really strange to me/I’ve got no place at all to be/Nobody yelling, ‘Hey, man, it’s time to go,’” Cooper sings on “100 More Miles” about the state you’re in after the final show of a tour and the struggle to readjust.
The only glaring misstep on Road is the cover of The Who’s “Magic Bus.” While maybe fitting for the theme of the album, Road is too strong of an album to have a cover tacked on the end of it. It’s a nice nod, unnecessary.
For more, visit: alicecooper.com
Dethklok – Dethalbum IV
Fictional band Dethklok from Adult Swim’s Metalocalypse is back with Dethalbum IV, coinciding with the new movie Metalocalypse: Army of the Doomstar. Show creator and musician Brendon Small makes sure that Nathan Explosion and the rest of the Dethklok crew return in a blaze of glory on what turns out to be a triumphant comeback by our metal heroes.
With Dethklok there is always sincerity mixed with comedy, and right off the bat that continues with the sound of an angry gardener murdering people with a weedwacker as Explosion sings, “Your guts will be liquified by a weed whacker” on “Gardener of Vengeance.” The laughs continue on “Poisoned by Food” and “Mutilation on a Saturday Night,” with Explosion singing, “We will interrupt you/Every time you try to make a joke/And we refuse your coasters/Watch us now as we track mud on your floor.”
Small, who is singing these songs in reality, not his creation Nathan Explosion, delivers these lines with a comically convincing growl. “I am the Beast,” sung from the perspective of a dog, is another standout. But for all the laughs, the music is super heavy and Small and the rest of the band he has put together clearly take their musicianship seriously.
“Horse of Fire” is melodic metal perfection with changes in tempo, good use of synths for embellishment, and a big chorus. The swinging guitar riff on “SOS” is both heavy and loose at the same time, and is coupled with a lighting speed double bass drum. The dramatic background chorus creates the album’s most epic moment.
Dethalbum IV is something to laugh at while at the same time something to respect on a level of songcraft and performance. If you like your music heavy with a wink of the eye, then this is for you.
For more, visit Dethklok on Instagram: @metalocalypse