Paranormal proves that school isn’t out yet!
Alice Cooper is back to doing what he does best, corrupting America’s youth with his ever so familiar edgy style that made him a target of the PMRC towards the middle of his career. Cooper’s 27th album Paranormal is a reminder of the pull the T-top off the Trans Am, crank the stereo, and hit the highway kind of heavy metal that paved the way for generation after generation to contribute and help grow the art form into what it is today.
The titular track opens up the album with a sort of late ’80s rock ballad feel and transitions into a palm muted clean guitar sound over the first verse, kicking it up a notch during the subsequent verses. The guitar was accented by excellent usage of the hi-hat cymbal in the drum section that adds to the vintage head-banging experience due to the fact that for some reason many current artists simply don’t care to use it and it’s reminiscent of the dawn of hard rock. At about the 2:30 mark, the tone changes to a sinister diminished sounding melody and transitions into an incredibly heartfelt guitar solo leading into the final verse which ends with a single and oddly satisfying minor chord.
Though Cooper’s vocal style has held strong over the years and rang true throughout the album, he had an all star cast supporting him throughout the release such as with the track “Fallen In Love” featuring Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top) on guitar. Gibbons’ and Cooper’s personal styles are incredibly evident and compliment each other extremely well. The southern blues feel of Gibbon’s playing makes the track favor something off a ZZ Top album rather than an Alice Cooper one, which still works out as the incredibly familiar bluesy twang of Gibbons’ playing is just as colorful as Cooper’s vocals throughout.
Bottom line up front: Paranormal is an excellent hard rock album that takes the listener back to a simpler time where music just had to be loud and played from the heart to be great. Cooper’s vocals are amazing throughout the release going from an emotionally charged feeling such as in the title track to the off color and creepy Alice Cooper that Rock fans have learned to love over a career spanning nearly a half century in tracks like “Holy Water.” The album goes to show that age is no limit to someone like Alice who just wants to rock, and rock he did.