According to a journalist in Kerrang!, Alice was going to call this album Shriek of the Mutilated. A much better title than the one he chose but perhaps too cryptic for the audience Alice was aiming at here. This was Alice embracing heavy metal with a vengeance! After all those hit ballads in the seventies and esoteric eccentricity of the eighties, Alice had relaunched his career with the so-so Constrictor in 1986 and this was the new, improved follow up in '87. Working again with Kane Roberts, his body building lead guitarist, looking like he's stepped straight out of a Sly Stallone movie, Cooper cranked the volume all the way up to 11 ably assisted by Michael Wagener's production and threw subtlety out of the window. The first half of the album had wannabe anthems like Freedom (minor hit single), Lock Me Up and Give the Radio Back. The second half was conceptual with Alice returning to familiar themes i.e a serial killer who sees blood drops as roses and calls all his victims Gail. The second half is the more interesting with Prince of Darkness being a classic heavy metal sound, big riffs, great lyrics and no time wasting. Chop, Chop, Chop and Time to Kill are deliciously bad taste and rock at a whirlwind pace before Gail breezes in on a harpsichord style keyboard more reminiscent of the Alice of Welcome to my Nightmare. All in all this album helped re-establish Alice with a hard rock audience after years of confusion and dwindling sales. It may not have the songs of Killer or Billion Dollar Babies or even in my opinion Brutal Planet, but it sounds great with the volume cranked up and provided the centrepiece of the inevitable subsequent stageshow. Ultimately this paved the way for the multi-million selling Trash which was next up for the Coop...but thats another story.
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