ALICE COOPER “CONSTRICTOR” – 1986 ALBUM REVISITED!


ALICE COOPERConstrictor was released on September 22, 1986, on MCA Records. Constrictor was the ninth studio album representing the “solo” career of Alice Cooper. This was the album that marked the return of Alice Cooper, (The Nightmare Returns Tour soon began). A three year “retirement” of sorts had begun since Alice Cooper’s 1983 studio album – DaDa. This Constrictor album changed all of that “retirement” thinking… Alice Cooper was really back, on MTV and even at WrestleMania III on March 29, 1987.

Alice Cooper was in the corner of Jake “The Snake” Roberts as he squared against The Honky Tonk Man during WrestleMania III. I can remember watching this all unfold, seeing Alice Cooper in the ring, thinking to myself… man, Alice Cooper could kick some ass right now! (Honestly, I used to think Pro Wrestling was real… the WWF kind that is). I had bought tickets to WrestleMania III with my cousins, only it was tickets for the then extremely popular – closed circuit television at a large theatre.

Ah, Metal… I mean, WrestleMania memories. Now, back to this Constrictor album:

The Constrictor album cover itself is vintage Alice Cooper, shock and horror imagery really goes hand in hand with this Rock ‘N’ Roll icon. Aw, heck, compare this album cover to most Grindcore, Death and Black Metal album covers and you are looking at the age of innocence, with Alice Cooper’s neck and face being the fixture for this boa constrictor. I do love this album cover… it’s the persona and image of what Alice Cooper conveys as a performer.

The most commercial and late 80′s accessible Hard Rock song on this album is without a doubt – He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask). This keyboard dominated song was also a major song for the movie soundtrack – Friday The 13th Part Vl: Jason Lives. With all of it’s open air silliness, I still like this song. It’s different. Very different. Let’s face it, this song was written and recorded for a purpose, to promote both a major slasher film franchise and Alice Cooper as well. When the Metal goal is to intentionally make a commercial song such as this, (which is obvious), then I’m agreeable.

The Great American Success Story is another mainstream blast of Hard Rock, which teeters on Pop Metal by way of 1986. The Arena style guitar takes the upper hand in making this song navigate through it’s friendly swirl of lyrics and melodic undertaking. Even Alice Cooper himself sounds more amicable than formidable on The Great American Success Story.

Life And Death Of The Party takes a more harder and heavier turn for the Metal better. Alice Cooper even has a semi-sinister delivery with his vocals, a characteristic that is essential to his voice and persona. The more sinister Alice Cooper gets… the better. Thrill My Gorilla can either be construed as tongue-in-cheek or just plain Hard Rockin’ fun, take your Metal pick. This song can only work for Alice Cooper back in 1986… this song in 2010 would go down as ? and in 1978 this song would have been ? as well. Really, c’mon, it’s the Metal truth.

Give It Up, with it’s “Give It Up” chorus and open door friendly ambiance, was tailor made for a late ’80′s motion picture soundtrack about teens in love. The mid to late ’80′s was oozing with these type of flicks… and songs like Give It Up were all over them. There is nothing wrong with it’s appeal, plus it really does “fit” into this mainstream bag o’ tricks that Constrictor musically advertises.

Teenage Frankenstein… what more can be said than that? At first glance, this song title appears as one a Punk Rock novice might expect to find… on an early Misfits album. Alas, this song is actually the opening track on Constrictor. The lyrical rhyming coupled with Alice Cooper’s very slick vocals, makes this song actually work it’s Hard Rock wonder with me. Metal be thy name.

Once again, I am convinced that fun lyrical content can coexist in Heavy Music… Alice Cooper has proven this with Constrictor. The front cover of Constrictor may lead one to believe it’s a much heavier and darker album than it really is. What this album exchanges for heaviness, it makes up for with it’s good time 80′s feel and attitude. I’ve owned Constrictor for a very long time, upgraded it to CD without thinking twice, in all Metal honesty.

Sometimes it’s the atmosphere of an album of songs that mesmerizes me so.┬áThis Alice Cooper album is a fine example of that. I don’t feel a hint of hesitation in recommending this album to any fan of Classic Rock, Hard Rock or 80′s Heavy Metal. Constrictor is a mirror image of it’s pop cultural backdrop of 1986… lot’s of flash, swagger and accessible songs that one can crank up loud, in a church parking lot, without getting hit by lightning.

The Band Behind – Constrictor:

Alice - vocals

Kane Roberts – guitars, bass, keyboards, background vocals, drums

David Rosenberg – drums

Donnie Kisselbach – bass guitar

Kip Wringer – bass guitar

Paul Delph – keyboards, background vocals on “He’s Back”

Tom Kelly – background vocals on “He’s Back”

Beau Hill – background vocals

Track Listing For Alice Cooper – Constrictor:

Teenage Frankenstein

Give It Up

Thrill My Gorilla

Life And Death Of The Party

Simple Disobediance

The World Needs Guts

Trick Bag

Crawlin’

The Great American Success Story

He’s Back (The Man Behind The Mask)

* Here is what the WrestleMania III promo poster looks like:

When I was a young lad, I witnessed both Andre The Giant and Hulk Hogan wrestle live. It was in my old High School Gym too. (This was way before the WWF became super enormous, long before the WWF changed to the WWE). Andre The Giant was an incredibly large human being and Hulk Hogan… he had muscles growing out of his eyeballs for Metal sakes.

LONG LIVE ALICE COOPER!

Stone.

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8 Responses to “ALICE COOPER “CONSTRICTOR” – 1986 ALBUM REVISITED!”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    It’s obvious you like metal, as we all do, but you really need to stop using wedging the word METAL in sentences all the time. Makes it hard to read your stuff, to be quite frank.

  2. I enjoy your use of the “Metal”. In my opinion that is one thing that stands out and makes Metal Odyssey unique and unlike most other music blogs!

    • metalodyssey Says:

      Thanks for the Metal support, Zipper! I didn’t realize that Metal Odyssey attracted Grammar School English teachers that want to “nit-pick” my Metal grammar! Gee Metal whiz.

      Stone

  3. Indeed this was the return of Alice. Really it’s pretty average overall. The following year’s Raise your fist and yell was much better. I saw Wrestlemania 3 at a friend’s house.

    • metalodyssey Says:

      I agree with your Metal assessments. I really miss those WWF days… especially Pipers Pit.

  4. I always hated wrestling but I love Alice, and while this is not his strongest album, I was thrilled when it was released, Alice had returned to his old look after a few years of going thru an identity crisis (1980-83) which saw him release some excellent albums with a new wave slant to them.

    This was Alice returning home to his metal roots and a sentimental favorite since it was on this tour I first saw Alice live.

    • metalodyssey Says:

      I used to be a HUGE wrestling fan back in the late 70′s and all the way through the 90′s. It all came to a “slow-down” for me with wrestling, once Roddy Piper, Ric Flair and The Four Horseman no longer ruled the wrestling world. I’ll still check out what’s going on though, once in awhile with that “sport”. ;)

      I did see Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant wrestle (not each other) at my old high school gym back around 1978. The tickets were probably $6 back then too! Now… that’s “Old School”!

  5. Angelspit.x Says:

    If you like metal, you should actually listen to metal.

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