Mutations

Mutations

A Tribute to Alice Cooper

Underground/Ankhor

Alice Cooper is enormously cool, mind. The title of “king of shock rock,” as the cover to this tribute album so proudly declares, is only the beginning of it. But while he always had a great stage show and brilliant antics, the music regularly had to take the back seat in the media. That doesn’t mean, however, that this was deservedly so. Alice and his band made some splendid album through the ages — the first ones are the classics, of course, but following his going solo and the plummeting in record sales, he even made some fine records during his heroin years in the early 1980s. And it is this period — plus a few later tracks — that is the natural focal point for this tribute.

Alice deserves better. Most of the bands on here sound exactly alike, and have the same formulaic take on the material. This is industrial goth-rock, or something in that vein, like some Nine Inch Nails without class or Marilyn Manson without teen appeal. Thrill Kill Kult have done a couple of fine things throughout the years, but their cover of “Hallowed Be My Name” isn’t one of them, even though they shine in comparison to most of the other bands featured on here. Elsewhere, all the bands merely slow down the songs, add a programmed backing track and some Sisters Of Mercy-styled monotonous vocals, and figure that’s all it takes. One song would’ve been more than enough. Eighteen of them are way too much.

So then, it’s the few that takes a slightly different route that’s vaguely interesting — Thrill Kill Kult mainly because they do it better than the others, Chris Connelly because he does an impassioned “Hard Hearted Alice,” and Texylvania because their trash punk version of “Under My Wheels” are, at the very least, different than most other things on here. Several of the artists do deserve an uneasy thumbs-up for choosing slightly off-center material from Alice’s rather uneven back catalogue, and for contributing exclusive material. That said, this feels like a missed opportunity, and the rarely compromising Alice deserves a better, more thorough and dedicated tribute than this.

Underground Records: http://www.undergroundinc.com • Ankhor Records: http://www.ankhorrecords.com

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