Reviewed: August 2000
Released: 2000, Spitfire Records
Alice Cooper needs no introduction. This guy has been playing his brand of hard rock / metal since the 70’s and anybody who has been into heavy music knows who he is. With his new album Brutal Planet on Spitfire Records, Alice is again trying to re-invent himself. This guy has done many “hard” music styles from 70’s rock, 80’s metal and glam metal. It seems as if he’s taken a look at what style of “metal” is popular in the USA at least, and surrounded himself with musicians who play that form of music. This is what holds this CD back. His distinctive vocal style is what makes this CD listenable for me.
Don’t get me wrong, Brutal Planet is not entirely “nu-metal” but it does have that 90’s groove sound. Alice has taken a page from the music of artists like White Zombie and to some extent Marilyn Manson. Brutal Planet is heavy yes, probably one of the heaviest albums that Alice has done but it’s more of a heavy “groove” feel than pure “heavy metal.” Some songs are really good like the title track “Brutal Planet” which has a memorable chorus, a decent guitar solo and some cool female backing vocals. “Sanctuary” is also one of the CD’s stronger songs with a chugging heavy guitar rhythm that slips into an uplifting, upbeat chorus that is totally recognizable as an Alice Cooper song. “Pessi-Mystic” is a creepy sounding semi-ballad that has a neat melody on the chorus, although he says the words “shut up” a few too many damn times! “It’s The Little Things” is another of the CD’s better, more upbeat tracks which has a nod to Alice’s past with the line “Welcome to my nightmare no more Mr. Nice Guy.” The CD also has it’s flaws. “Blow Me a Kiss” has a weird silly intro followed by a repetitive boring riff. The only saving grace is Cooper’s vocals. The song does have a neat drum pattern happening but the guitar rhythms are typical. “Pick Up The Bones” starts out with Alice’s typical snarling vocals then some sort of techno sounding drumbeat comes in. I don’t know about you but that kinda shit turns me off totally! The ballad “Take It Like A Woman” stands out as a time capsule to a ballad that could of come from the 70’s complete with acoustic guitar and piano. Not really my thing, but I’m sure long time fans of classic Cooper will love it. The CD’s closing track “Cold Machines” is Alice’s version of Marilyn Manson’s “Beautiful People” – albeit with better vocals.
This is kind of like two steps forward and one step back. It’s awesome that Alice is still in the music industry after all these years – proof that he really likes what he does!! It’s also nice to hear him doing something heavy rather than pop-orientated. The step back is that if it wasn’t for the vocals this would be lost in the shuffle of other US “hard music” bands without much melody playing down-tuned groove “metal.”
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