Originally Published: October 17, 1987
Author: Chris Welsh
'Raise Your Fist And Yell'
MCA MCF 3392
'We the people of the United States ... Stop pretending that you've never been bad. You are the rulers with the iron hand!'
Alice launches hot foot into a powerful assault that attempts to prick the nation's conscience. He demands 'freedom to rock and freedom to talk.' but Americans have done nothing but talk and rock for years on end. They invented the chat show, Elvis Presley and the Washington Post after all. But doubtless Alice sees deep dangers in the current anti-rock stance being taken by some concerned US citizens. Nothing to get up about, as John Lennon might say. Rock, and indeed all art, thrives on oppression. More freedom usually means less quality, but that's one of life's ironies.
Dealing more directly with the music, one finds this is a powerful piece of work that Alice rightly considers to be his best in years. Certainly the guitar work by Kane Roberts is packed with string grinding power, and Alice summons every ounce of bile and ire as he soap boxes about 'Give The Radio Back' and threatens 'You're in my way' on 'Step On You'. 'Hello my little pretty, don't we look yeuk!' he slobbers on 'Not That Kind Of Love'.
Clever stereo panning on the vocals adds to the pervading sense of menace, but it's difficult to sustain the mood when you know that Alice, like Lizzy Borden, is really a nice guy deep down.
The clenching of teeth and fists continues unabated into 'Prince Of Darkness', which reminds us that Alice really pioneered this whole genre of mascara and doom. There's even some tasteful acoustic guitar and in-tune normal style singing. Then it's onwards through 'Time To Kill' and 'Chop Chop Chop', a comic tale of murder. 'I'm a killing machine, I keep the city clean', he growls wittily.
Fiendishly clever stuff, and probably a medium sized hit. M