ALICE COOPER “CONSTRICTOR” – 1986 ALBUM REVISITED!
ALICE COOPER – Constrictor 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. This 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:
Give It Up
Thrill My Gorilla
Life And Death Of The Party
The World Needs Guts
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!
This entry was posted on June 5, 2010 at 12:48 am and is filed under classic rock, classic rock music, Hard Rock, hard rock albums, hard rock bands, hard rock music, Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, heavy metal bands, heavy metal history, heavy metal music, horror metal, metal odyssey, Music, rock 'n' roll, rock and roll, rock music with tags 1980's heavy metal albums, 1980's heavy metal music, alice cooper constrictor album review, hard rock music, heavy metal album reviews, heavy metal history, heavy metal legends, heavy metal music, heavy metal vocalists, horror metal, metal odyssey, Music, old school heavy metal, rock music, wrestlemania III 1987. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.