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Alice Cooper - PARANOMAL

To say that the Coop is getting long in the tooth is an understatement, but somehow the pioneer of shock rock finds new ways to wow the audience with each new album.

Paranormal follows the immensely popular 2nd installment of Welcome to My Nightmare, and it stays pretty much in the same vein — hard rock with great storytelling, flannel graph characters, searing guitars, with 70's rock roots showing, and tongue firmly in cheek. Larry Mullen (U2), Roger Glover (Deep Purple), Jimmy Lee Sloas, and the original Alice Cooper band guest star, and one has to wonder — the last time an Alice Cooper album had this many guests was Hey Stoopid back in 1991 and was supposed to be Alice's retirement party. Looks like he found a second life.

Alice has a little fun with us on numbers like "Paranormal," "Dead Flies," and "Paranoiac Personality." "Rats" is a song written about (fill in your employer here.) "Private Public Breakdown" is a bit of a downer, as the subject matter dictates. "Dynamite Road" is a real barn burner that is a mix between Frehley's Comet's "Rock Soldiers" and Charlie Daniels' "Devil Went Down to Georgia, " and one of my favorites from this disc. The other is "Holy Water," replete with horns celebrating the rebirth of a sinner in the waters of baptism. The cherry on top is when Alice admonishes "You gotta raise your hands to the Lord above, and say..." and a blistering guitar solo breaks in and literally makes the guitar "sing out" to God. Cool stuff! "The Sound of A" is an excellent laid back, almost prog rock sounding tune in the vein of Pink Floyd to close out disc 1.

Disc 2 has two new songs written and performed by the original Alice Cooper band that are interesting to hear, but fall flat of the current band's output, to these ears. Disc 2 also has 6 live songs taken from a show last year by the current band. New Alice Cooper is always must see and must hear, and Paranormal is no different. Be sure to pick out all the gruff bgv's, odd sound effects, and count how many times Alice name drops random Alice Cooper songs within other songs. (E-A-R Music) 4.5 out of 5 stars - Chris Gatto

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