Review Summary: It defines Alice Cooper, but is it truly a buried gem?
It kinda baffles me that this is one of Alice Cooper's least known and underrated metal albums. From my perspective, "Raise Your Fist and Yell" encompasses everything he's about. Simple, yet effective lyrics about youthful rebellion, politics, and serial killers with heavy instrumentals and is overall a headbanging good time. What more can you ask for? Cooper's transition from rock to metal was rather effective with "Constrictor", but his metal years hit their stride with this masterpiece.
"Freedom" was the only single of this album. It opens up with some impressive drum and guitar work and shows the main feature of the first half of the album. It sings mainly of hypocritical "saints" who tell you to quit having so much fun and be more like a proper person. Go to church, listen to authorities. This song gives a big middle finger to those people and says "F*ck you, buddy. I can do what I want." It's catchy as hell, has impressive guitar by the always impressive Kane Roberts, and should be the textbook definition of 80's Alice.
Continuing the streak of songs about putting "the man" down, "Lock Me Up" is pretty self explanatory. The song is about about sticking to what you believe in no matter what the punishment may be. This is very evident in the lyrics "You can take my head and cut it off, but you a'int gonna change my mind." Like "Freedom" this song is also catchy and I very much enjoy the intro with some sort of demonic judge.
More rebellious songs with "Give The Radio Back." This is more about censorship in music and how Alice's music was being criticized due to it's content as well as his evil settings in his concerts. It's telling the press and the soccer moms protecting their little Billy from his satanic themes ti grow a pair and find a real reason to be mad.
When "Step On You" comes along, the album takes a bit of a darker turn. Alice's vocals become deeper and more sinister, and the instrumentals drop a scale. It's also starts us on the road to the final half of the album where it changes from unfair rules to serial killers.
It's very possible that the killer character portrayed in this album could have been pushed to kill by society's overabundance of rules that pissed him off so much, he was driven to commit murder. This is just my theory though. I'm not 100% sure.
"Not That Kind Of Love" is, how can I put this? Very, very, VERY 80's. Basically it's about a girl who Alice is dating basically for her body and doesn't plan on being in love with her, but the girl has other plans. Not a big fan of the lyrics in this one, but the guitar is so heavy I can't help but appreciate it.
This could have effected the murderer later on when the songs start talking about killing prostitutes.
The transition is complete with "Prince of Darkness." This song tells of some sort of evil angel who wreaks havoc on the Earth and is everything society despises, obviously a metaphor for the killer. This is one of my favorites because of it's dark vocals and it really gets me going for the rest of this dark album.
"Time to Kill"....Wow, Alice. Way to be blunt. This basically is about the killer's life story, and how somewhere along the line of his life, he gets the urge to murder. This song isn't bad, but it's not one of the better pieces on the LP. It's not all that catchy, but has some pretty good lyrics. Definitely not worth skipping over.
Remember me saying something about killing hookers? Yeah, this is where it comes in. "Chop Chop Chop" is pretty electronic sounding and just sounds epic. The lyrics remind me of the classic murderer Jack the Ripper, known for murdering young prostitutes. At the end of the song, he repeatedly chants the name "Gail" a transition to the next song, titled "Gail."
"Gail" is shorter, and much softer than the rest of the album. Without a doubt, it's also a very ominous song that never fails to give me goosebumps. The piano playing sends shivers down my spine, and this is a very entertaining piece.
Don't you love it when an album goes out with a bang and ends with the best song on the disc? I sure do. "Roses On White Lace" is a fantastic climax to the story of this nameless murderer, and tells the tail of him killing, mutilating, and beheading a bride on her wedding day, possibly Gail. It's ominous in a different way, and is extremely heavy and a true pleasure to listen to. If you listen to any song from this album, this is it.
In conclusion, any fan of Alice Cooper, or hell, metal in general, who hasn't heard this album yet is missing out. It's my favorite work of his and the fact that it's so underrated hurts me. So, give this album a check out, and happy killing, my pretties. Hehehe.