ALONG CAME A SPIDER
Released on July 29, 2008
Chart Position #53
01. Prologue/I Know Where You Live
02. Vengeance Is Mine
03. Wake The Dead
04. Catch Me If You Can
05. (In Touch With) Your Feminine Side
06. Wrapped In Silk
07. Killed By Love
08. I’m Hungry
09. The One That Got Away
11. I Am The Spider/Epilogue
iTunes Bonus Tracks:
12. Shadow Of Myself
13. I’ll Still Be There
14. Salvation (unplugged)
Alice Cooper – lead/background vocals
Danny Saber – guitar, bass, piano and keyboards
Greg Hampton – guitar, bass, keyboards, strings and background vocals
Chuck Garric – bass and background vocals
Eric Singer – drums
Ozzy Osbourne – harmonica
Slash – lead guitar
Whitey Kirst – lead guitar
Keri Kelli – guitar
Jason Hook – guitar
David Piribauer – drums
Steffen Presley – B3 organ
Bernard Fowler – background vocals
Greg Hampton – background vocals
Calico Cooper – background vocals
Produced by Greg Hampton, Danny Saber and Alice Cooper.
Alice Cooper has had a long and eclectic musical history, ranging from Sinatra-esqe swagger to nu-metal. The balance between hard-nosed Detroit rock and experiments of grandiose succeed at varying degrees in the discography, but overall Alice Cooper is fairly consistent in releasing quality albums, despite the numerous stylistic changes.
In 2005, Alice released Dirty Diamonds, an album that not only proved that had he hadn’t gone insane (as listeners of The Eyes Of Alice Cooper might have guessed from the abysmal production) but that he could still deliver an excellent straight-forward rock album. The material on that CD was leaps and bounds above Eyes, and so when talk about Alice releasing a new concept album began, sparks of excitement were lit. With works like Welcome To My Nightmare, From The Inside and Brutal Planet, Alice is arguably the king of the concept album.
So now we get Along Came A Spider, Alice‘s first storyline concept album since 2001’s Dragontown (and 8th overall). While Brutal Planet and Dragontown were epic tales of a post-apocalyptic future, this album simplifies the adventure to the story of a serial killer named Spider. Spider goes around murdering his victims because ‘the voices in his head’ tell him to, chopping off one leg or one arm off each victim so he can form a giant spider creature. The real-world setting makes the story seem like a breath of fresh air in concept albums, and the serial killer story arc seems to fit like a glove for Alice.
Musically the album is, for the most part, in the same vein of Dirty Diamonds. The opening track, “I Know Where You Live”, will immediately remind you of Dirty Diamonds because of the guitar sound, but the difference is that this song is far more menacing than anything on that album. The song has a dark lyrical brilliance that just screams classic Alice Cooper. The album then starts to slow down, though, because the album’s first choice for a single, “Vengeance Is Mine”, is one of the weakest songs on the album (even with Slash shredding his way through the track).
After that the album picks up with a series of catchy songs that lay true to the classic Alice Cooper sounds and styles you’re all familiar with, but also offers an array of unique qualities in each song so as to not sound like a repeat of the 70s. The tracks definitely rock, but they also have originality (something lacking in most modern rock). The ability to have originality and blend it with one’s classic sound is an accomplishment in itself, but the fact that the songs are all good makes the feat all the more satisfying.
Following the string of rockers, Alice unleashes one of the greatest ballads in his entire career – “Killed By Love”. It is the best song on the album and worth the price of admission alone. Alice sings it in the same vocal style he sang his ballads in the 70s (which is something missing from his more recent ballads) and the production sounds similar to something off From The Inside.
Despite the album reaching its peak, the remainder of the disc is still an enjoyable listen. “I’m Hungry” is excellent filler, “The One That Got Away” is a great track that sounds quite a bit like the recent Saints Of The Underground album (which isn’t surprising considering Jani Lane and Keri Kelli originally wrote it for their band) and “Salvation” is a Christian rock anthem that would make any Stryper fan proud.
The album closes with one of its weaker songs, and the ending will no doubt leave listeners scratching their heads as to whether or not Spider killed the girl he fell in love with or whether or not Spider committed a single murder. You don’t feel quite as exhausted as you do after listening to Brutal Planet or Dragontown, but you feel a bit more fulfilled.
Along Came A Spider is a great album. One of Alice Cooper‘s better albums, it is by far the best album released in 2008. Chock full of catchy songs and an engaging story, this is an album that is great not just for individual enjoyment but for great discussions about the album’s plot. And Ozzy plays harmonica on it! What more could you ask for?
Reviewed by GT for Sleaze Roxx, December 2008.