Alice Cooper – Along Came A Spider (2008)

Alice Cooper - Along Came A Spider (2008)

Alice Cooper – Along Came A Spider (2008, SPV)

  1. Prologue/I Know Where You Live
  2. Vengeance Is Mine
  3. Wake The Dead
  4. Catch Me If You Can
  5. (In Touch With) Your Feminine Side
  6. Wrapped In Silk
  7. Killed By Love
  8. I’m Hungry
  9. The One That Got Away
  10. Salvation
  11. I Am The Spider/Epilogue

Musicians:
Alice Cooper – Lead & Background Vocals
Calico Cooper – Background & Spoken Word Vocals
Bernard Fowler – Background Vocals
Chuck Garric – Bass & Background Vocals
Greg Hampton – Guitars, Bass, Keyboards, Strings & Background Vocals
Jason Hook – Guitars on ‘(In Touch With) Your Feminine Side’
Keri Kelli – Guitars
Whitey Kirst – Lead Guitar on ‘I’m Hungry’
David Piribauer – Drums
Stefen Presley – B3 Organ on ‘Wrapped In Silk’
Danny Saber – Guitars, Keyboards, Bass & Background Vocals
Eric Singer – Drums
Slash – Lead Guitar on ‘Vengeance Is Mine’

Produced by: Alice Cooper, Greg Hampton & Danny Saber

Total Time = 44:24

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2008 has been one of the biggest years for one of the most overdone ideas in Metal…..concept albums. So far this year we have had concept albums from Avantasia, Ayreon, Judas Priest and Iced Earth to name just a few. Metal’s godfather of shock and horror, Alice Cooper, has unleashed his latest terror tale about a serial killer named Spider and his pursuit of female victims. The concept doesn’t stray too far from the Alice norm does it? It’s a natural persona for Alice to portray and the Spider character mirrors an old one (Steven) from the glory days.

ALONG CAME A SPIDER is an album that follows the same formula as 2005’s DIRTY DIAMONDS by bridging Alice’s classic ’70s shock rock sound with a more modern updated sound. Most of the band that creates the musical blueprint has been a part of Alice’s touring ensemble for a number of years: Keri Kelli, Jason Hook, Chuck Garric and Eric Singer…..all are accomplished Hard Rock musicians that have collaborated on Cooper albums over the last decade. There are also a couple of guest musicians here with Slash adding guitar to ‘Vengeance Is Mine’ and an unlisted Ozzy Osbourne providing some harmonica to their writing collaboration on ‘Wake The Dead’.

Opening number ‘Prologue/I Know Where You Live’ sets up the maniacal journey as Spider lets his victims know that he’s watching them…..closely. The prologue is more of an opening intro to set up the overall story and features Alice’s daughter Calico while the proper song sounds like an updated WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE album cut. The song sets up the story as Spider stalks his victims. The most Heavy Metal song on the album is ‘Vengeance Is Mine’ and includes the guest appearance by Slash on lead guitar. ‘Vengeance’ has that modern heavy bite to it even when it breaks down halfway to allow Alice to have a spoken word segment to add the sinister aura. ‘Wake The Dead’ offers a more modern, lightly industrial, style to an upbeat almost danceable mid-’60s to early ’70s Pop tune. The contrast between the concept, lyrics and music put the visions of Spider dancing around taunting and torturing his victims to his delight. Same thing goes for ‘Catch Me If You Can’, the song has its roots in the early Alice Cooper albums but has that modern guitar sound keeping it fresh. You can picture the psychotic Spider gleefully taunting his victims, and the authorities, while he performs his evil deeds and battles his own mind.

‘(In Touch With) Your Feminine Side’ isn’t my favorite song on the album but it keeps the sinister feel going as Spider speaks to one of his victims in an almost “getting to know you” and reassuring tone. Of course, it’s all a ploy to capture yet another unsuspecting innocent female. I like the spiderweb theme with the title of ‘Wrapped In Silk’ and the song reminds of early Alice from KILLER (1971) through GOES TO HELL (1976). The guitar tone sounds like it came straight from that early era and the drums just pound away uneasily. Another song inspired by the classic Cooper era is ‘Killed By Love’, a ballad that sounds strikingly similar to ‘Only Women Bleed’ and ‘I Never Cry’ with Alice actually singing in a more melodic style. Just like the older ballads, ‘Killed By Love’ has that emotional fragility to it that gives the protagonist Spider a more human quality despite his horrific persona.

So far, ALONG CAME A SPIDER is a fairly serious and sinister piece of work and ‘I’m Hungry’ continues that trend but with a fair bit of humor. Spider sings “Gimme, gimme, gimme something to eat…” and we delve into the possible cannibalistic side of the character as he descends further into madness. Listen to the opening guitar line, it reminds me of ‘Refrigerator Heaven’ (1970) and ‘Is It My Body?’ (1971). The end is near as Spider battles with himself as he is stalking another victim during ‘The One That Got Away’. Before he approaches the girl mid-song, Spider goes through all the things that he could do to her, building up to the eventual communication. Calico Cooper guests again as the girl who gets away as Spider uses a similar tactic that Buffalo Bill used in Silence Of The Lambs when he kidnapped the senator’s daughter…..asking for help to his car. The piano based ballad ‘Salvation’ reminds me more of early Alice around the WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE/GOES TO HELL era with the orchestration and melodic singing. ‘I Am the Spider’  finishes the descent into the madness of the serial killer’s mind and the second half, ‘Epilogue’, is spoken word by Alice who sums up his crimes just like a spider behaves: “You trap. You kill. You eat.”. I also like the reference Spider makes to the Steven character that first appears on WELCOME TO MY NIGHTMARE and makes sporadic appearances throughout Alice’s career.

Bottom Line:
The serial killer concept really isn’t a new one, even for Alice Cooper, but he pulls it all of perfectly. The sense of evil, deceit, and horror mixed with emotion and a touch of humor all plays into the usual Alice Cooper shock rock theme.  Musicianship and production are top level and the songs retain the modern 2008 technique while drawing inspiration from the ’70s Rock heyday. Overall, a really good album with a simple concept that gets a little extra attention with the comparisons to spiders and their behaviors. Of the five albums Alice has released since 2000, ALONG CAME A SPIDER is the best.

Favorite Songs: ‘Vengeance Is Mine’, ‘Catch Me If You Can’, ‘Wrapped In Silk, ‘Killed By Love’, ‘Salvation’

Press Release: Jorn Lande – Live In America DVD due on 1/23/2009

From Melodicrock.com:

Frontiers Records is pleased to announce the release of the long awaited Jorn Lande DVD Live In America on January 23, 2009.

jorn-lande-live-in-america-dvd-2009

Live In America was recorded live during Jorn’s first ever concert in the USA, at the ProgPower VII Festival in Atlanta, where he performed as headliner of the day on September 16th 2006. The incredible set saw Jorn offer a wide selection of songs taken from his solo albums, collaborations and a mindblowing Whitesnake medley, who made him one of the most successful acts ever in the history of the festival.

Jorn Lande is one of nowadays vocal Rock gods: he has a vocal capability that is world class, distinctive, rich and spanning a large range. He cut his teeth with such internationally renowned acts as: Masterplan, Ark, Millenium, Vagabond, The Snakes and many more. He has also established himself with his own band under the name “Jorn”, releasing so far seven increasingly successful solo albums. “Live In America” is a visual testament to Jorn’s capabilities as an entertainer and to the incredible power and strength of his now legendary shows and a perfect complement of the CD release which came out in September 2007.

DVD Contents – Jorn Live at ProgPower VII Festival: We Brought The Angels Down; Blacksong; Duke of Love; Are You Ready; Cold Sweat; Drum Solo; Out To Every Nation: Guitar Solo; Straight Through The Heart; Godless And Wicked; Soulburn; Devilbird; Perfect Strangers; Gonna Find The Sun; The Whitesnake Medley: Come on/Sweet Talker/Crying in the Rain/Here I Go Again/Give Me All Your Love / NTSC Region Free – 16:9 / Stereo Mix 2.0.

Hard Rock and Heavy Metal nominees announced for the 51st Grammy Awards

From Bravewords:

The complete list of nominees in the Hard Rock, Metal, Rock Instrumental and Rock categories for the 51st annual Grammy Awards have been announced and can be viewed below:

Best Hard Rock Performance:
DISTURBED – ‘Inside The Fire’
JUDAS PRIEST – ‘Visions’
THE MARS VOLTA – ‘Wax Simulacra’
MÖTLEY CRÜE – ‘Saints Of Los Angeles’
ROB ZOMBIE – ‘Lords Of Salem’

Best Metal Performance:
DRAGONFORCE – ‘Heroes Of Our Time’
JUDAS PRIEST – ‘Nostradamus’
METALLICA – ‘My Apocalypse’
MINISTRY – ‘Under My Thumb’
SLIPKNOT – ‘Psychosocial’

Best Rock Instrumental Performance:
DAVID GILMOUR – ‘Castellorizon’
METALLICA – ‘Suicide & Redemption’
NINE INCH NAILS – ’34 Ghosts I-IV’
RUSH – ‘Hope (Live For The Art Of Peace)’
ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA – ‘Peaches En Regalia’

Best Rock Album:
COLDPLAY – Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends
KID ROCK – Rock N Roll Jesus
KINGS OF LEON – Only By The Night
METALLICA – Death Magnetic
THE RACONTEURS – Consolers Of The Lonely

Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals:
AC/DC – ‘Rock N Roll Train’
COLDPLAY – ‘Violet Hill’
EAGLES – ‘Long Road Out Of Eden’
KINGS OF LEON – ‘Sex On Fire’
RADIOHEAD – ‘House Of Cards’

Nominations for the 51st Annual Grammy Awards were announced last night (December 3rd) by The Recording Academy.

For the first time, nominations were announced on prime-time television as part of The Grammy Nominations Concert Live!! – Countdown To Music’s Biggest Night. The one-hour special – broadcast live on CBS from Nokia Theatre L.A Live – featured past Grammy winners and nominees reading nominations in several categories, as well as performing songs from the Grammy Hall Of Fame in celebration of the grand opening of the Grammy Museum.

Grammy ballots for the final round of voting will be mailed on December 17 to the voting members of The Recording Academy. They are due back to the accounting firm Deloitte by January 14, 2009, when they will be tabulated and the results kept secret until the telecast.

The 51st Annual Grammy Awards will be held on Grammy Sunday, February 8, 2009, at Staples Center in Los Angeles and once again will be broadcast live in high-definition TV and 5.1 surround sound on CBS from 8–11:30 p.m. (ET/PT).