HardReviews 2
by Martin Popoff

Alice Cooper - The Eyes Of Alice Cooper

Stiff, hookless and (deliberately) humourless, the last two Alice Cooper albums tried too hard to be heavy. But this time out, Alice is affable and loose; he's let his guard down and let his wit out of the bag. What's more, he's written with his band, specifically Eric Dover and Ryan Roxie, two young whippersnappers whose idea of classic rock leans toward Guns N' Roses, or judging from the slushy, garagey, fairly conventional sounds of this, Guns N' Roses solo albums. Which works to positive effect here, Alice using his many voices to croon the plight of modern culture junky man over a bunch of party rock riffs, occasionally augmented with horns. This House Is Haunted is the only clunker, Alice writing what is almost a parody of his scary story canon. But man, the rest... great choruses, poignant wordplay, all sorts of little guitar fireworks lighting up quick, infectious, almost glammy hair metal songs caked up with dirt, sent combative through a raucous Mudrock production job. I laugh when I see the sticker text of this thing: "a very current rock 'n' roll record" and "a bold step forward with a nod to his past." Don't be scared off by this stupidity. There's not a trace of any current styles or technologies on here. What I'd call this is a cross between hair band years Alice, Slash's two albums and, given Alice's strong vocals, wry but always humour-lined perceptions on life, yes, "a nod to his past." Highlights: Love Should Never Feel Like This, Backyard Brawl, Novocaine and What Do You Want From Me?, each going to different smash easy metal places, each with memorable choruses. No reason (besides too many reasons) this album couldn't and shouldn't be all over classic rock radio, hit after hit launched, legs for eight months, four videos, three North American tours...
Rating 8

Dokken - Japan Live '95

Either Sanctuary hates Don and wants to embarrass him into taking his marbles and smashing them, or a self-destructive George Lynch has somehow strong-armed control and is making career decisions solely based on wrecking the reputation of the pantload or blowbag or whatever he's calling Don this week (actually, I think he uses the term fathead the most). First off, this sounds like a bootleg, perfect match for the useless four page booklet. But mainly, the guy singing this... it doesn't even sound like Don half the time, and whoever it is seems to hit about 20% of the notes. I've seen Dokken live many times - he's never sounded this bad; in fact, he sounds great. And man, I could never imagine Don letting this thing out from under his big fur coat without having been deftly hunted down by a wide-eyed and loin-clothed Ted Nugent brandishing an elephant gun. Thankfully, Don is buried under the rusted mix somewhere, but so is Pilson, and a good part of Mick's kit. More than anything, I'm just surprised this rip-off actually came out (available on DVD as well!). Shame upon the label, and if the band or any part of it actually consented, what were you thinking? Warts and all? This is all warts.
Rating 3

Hard Reviews Page 3