The Nightmare Returns

Metalheads wouldn’t suggest that Alice Cooper is part of the genre, but you probably have a download or two from the Cooperman in your collection.

Now backed that he’s backed by two of the world’s top guitarists, Steve Hunter and Orianthi, an Alice Cooper gig is the closest you’ll ever get to melodic metal without admitting to liking hard rock.

The legend, as he’s known these days, has been performing for 47 years, 43 with the name and band, Alice Cooper. While the original band didn’t quite last ten years, they had their biggest hits during that time. When did you last air guitar to ‘School’s Out?’ Alice took the name as his own and hasn’t looked back since.

Welcome to My Nightmare

His 1975 Welcome to My Nightmare album and tours established the elaborate bloodthirsty theatre style his shows are known for and 17 studio albums later he’s back with Welcome to My Nightmare 2.

He’s returned with a mixture of musicians from the Alice Cooper Band days along with many of those that played on the first Nightmare album. Bob Ezrin produces as he did on the original. Despite using 29 musicians on the updated version, it feels like one tight unit pumping out the volume.

Of course, this is a band that should be seen live and the current world tour helps that. The albums have always been closer to rock, but on stage they take on a different persona and you know you’re closer to heavy metal.

The Quality Is In The Guitarists

Steve Hunter played on the final two albums by the Alice Cooper band, although he wasn’t a band member at the time. After Alice went solo Hunter became a permanent band member through the seventies. Previously he’d been on Lou Reed’s roster and then assisting Peter Gabriel.

With Dick Wagner, Hunter formed the ‘great guitar battle’ seen on the Alice Cooper DVDs and tours of that period. Some still wonder how they could play the metal while fighting (for fun) on stage.

Orianthi Panagaris is a 26 year old Australian and the first ever girl in an Alice Cooper band. While her history may be short, it’s certainly packed. At 18 she was invited to jam with Santana on stage at a gig. Afterwards Santana told those present that he knew who would take over his mantle as the world’s number one guitarist.

While surfing the internet Michael Jackson found her on YouTube. He invited her to audition for his This Is It world tour. She can be seen rocking up his act in the film of the same name, just before Jackson’s untimely death.

She’s persisted with a solo career, but it’s her collaborations that see her hit the headlines most. It’s odd seeing this young good looking woman on stage with the two aging 63 year old rockers, but she fits in perfectly with the chemistry between singer and guitar players.

Welcome to My Nightmare 2

The second Nightmare mixes a few elements from the first version to link the two themed albums, although no song from the first album sounds like anything from the second. This is good to see as you wouldn’t want to hear the original album played with new names and some different lyrics.

The 14 tracks are a mixed collection of rock and garage punk with a sprinkling of pop and one song that sounds exactly as though the Rolling Stones played on it. You’d be better off waiting to catch most of the album on the next Alice Cooper live DVD where mediocre CD songs will fill the air as heavy metal at its best.

The bonus for metal fans is either Rob Zombie performing backing vocals on The Congregation or telling your friends that Ke$ha sings lead vocal with Alice on What Baby Wants.

The bonus song is the Animals’ We’ve Got to Get Out of This Place although you might never have heard it played this way before. Any metalhead would enjoy sitting back in their palliser couches with full guitars, drums and bass thumping away.

If chart positions are your obsession, which would be wildly amusing to other metalheads, Nightmare 2 became Alice’s biggest hit for more than 20 years. In the US it reached number 22 early in its lifecycle while in the UK it reached number 7 in the rock charts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: