Review Summary: Unyielding and showing the young'uns how it's done.
Alice Cooper is one of heavy metal’s biggest names; the music equivalent to what McDonald’s is for fast food. Though my analogy is a little raw, hear me out. Alice Cooper has undoubtedly contributed an unprecedented level of influence to the heavy metal we know today. Hell, I’d even go as far to say, in his field, he’s the most important figurehead for the genre. Music aside, his shock-rock stage shows were the talk of true terror in the 70s and 80s, and spurred on – to this day – an endless well of influence for bands and artists that proceed him. But even with the visual aspect burnt into most people’s minds, many forget Alice and co. have a bloody strong collection of LPs under their belt; matching their theatrics with some really, really great songs and albums from a near 50-year career: a colossal 27 LPs and a surprising amount of consistency within it all. At this point it should also come as little surprise that Alice Cooper is still rockin’ hard at 69 and [still] maintaining his status as a true asset to the world of music.
With all that said however, my standpoint on the band – despite being fully aware of their weighty importance – has me digesting their music like I would a dirty burger at McDonald’s; a quick pick-me-up before doing other things. No real thought or emotion being put into the decision, other than the fact I know what I’m getting and know it will adequately fill the void for a brief moment of time. That’s not to take anything away from Alice Cooper, because he really hasn’t had a bad album his entire career, it’s just that there’s little in the way of surprise. A spade is a spade, and true to form Paranormal
is no different to the body of their previous works. A nice concise 10-track LP that showcases a decent production, solid instrumentation and a valiant effort from the singer, who ensures the album keeps its spark. Highlights come from tracks like “Paranoiac Personality” which bring a sleazy groove and some infectiously devious melodies, while “Fallen in Love” brings that 80s cock-rock swagger to the table. While more high-octane numbers like “Dynamite Road” and “Fireball” bring out the kind of influences White Zombie were tapping into for their songs back in the day: breakneck tempos with some playful subject matter alongside it all.
To be honest though, I kept being taken back by the band as whole than the album itself: a band that has been going for nearly half a century and still looks and sounds as vigorous and focused as any young band going today, and it’s a marvel to see. Their ability to deliver a record 6-years on from Welcome to My Nightmare
, which offers all the hallmarks any fan would love, is extremely impressive. For Alice’s age, his voice is unbelievably consistent and strong: making sure he brought a bucket load of campy schlock and fun to his performances, with an ample supply of catchy melodies, he’s easily the best thing on this album. More importantly, there’s an underpinning conviction in what Alice is doing; this isn’t some half-arsed collection of recordings, it’s a labour of love. And I suspect this is how the band have maintained their quality over the years. Paranormal
isn’t going to break the mould, but, then, it never set out to do that in the first place. This album has one thing in mind: its fans. And so long as the fire continues to burn in his belly, Alice Cooper is set to leave an intimidating legacy for others to follow.
SPECIAL EDITION: The 2-CD edition contains a host of bonus tracks.