Rough Edge

Originally Published: June 2000

Brutal Planet Review

ALICE COOPER - "Brutal Planet"
Reviewed by Snidermann
Rated 4 out of 4

If you want an unbiased, uninformed opinion of Alice Cooper's new release, "Brutal Planet," you won’t get it here. If that's what you're looking for, go to the rags - like Entertainment Weekly or People. They'll probably trash "Brutal Planet" ('trash.' get it?) because their snobby "music critics" just don’t understand!!

"Brutal Planet" is simply dark, simply twisted, simply poignant and simply - Alice Cooper. Alice pokes sarcasm at quite a few things on this new release, including racism, work place burn out, gluttony, greed, wife abuse and a few more that I haven't quite figured out yet.

I really enjoyed this in-your-face release with its off center view of life in the world of today. I can relate to what Alice says in this recording and appreciate the dark humor he uses.

A few notes of interest: Bob Ezrin is the Executive Producer of "Brutal Planet" (Ezrin has been long associated with Alice, working such classic Cooper albums as "Welcome To My Nightmare" and others). Former KISS drummer Eric Singer is on drums and Brian Nelson, Alice's Assistant, shares a writing credit with Alice on the song, "Pessi-mystic." China, Phil X and Ryan Roxie are on guitars; Bob Marlette is on rhythm and bass guitars and keyboards. Marlette also did a superb job producing this CD.

This is Alice Cooper’s first release of new music since 1994 and he has done it again with the same flare and style that we have all come to except from rock'n'roll's morbid maestro. "Brutal Planet" rocks, just like I knew it would. Even after thirty some odd years, Alice Cooper can put forth thought- provoking, important music. Can't wait for the tour!

"Brutal Planet" (Spitfire)
Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton
Rated 4 out of 4

"Brutal Planet" is Alice Cooper at his best. It's a hard-rocking, clever- lyricked monster of a CD that combines Cooper's classic style with a modern hard rock beat.

No, we're not talking about nu-metal here. Thankfully, Alice doesn't give rap a try. Instead, he gives us that legendary voice, dripping with venom and sarcasm, as he sails into nearly a dozen songs about life here on this "Brutal Planet."

If you read our news section, hopefully you've already gone over to the Spitfire Records website and downloaded the free "Brutal Planet" MP3 there. If you've heard the "Brutal Planet" track, you'll get an pretty good idea of what "Brutal Planet" the album is all about.

"Brutal Planet" is dark but it isn't desolate. It's a Todd McFarlane comic book of a CD; it looks and sounds gloomy but there are lessons to be learned herein. Important lessons that Cooper delivers with the utmost subtlety. A fine example is "Wicked Young Man":

And "Wicked Young Man" isn't the only place that Cooper discusses issues of importance. "Sanctuary" is about the slow death of the 9 to 5 world; "Blow Me a Kiss" is about hatred because of one's differences; "Eat Some More" is about the obscenity of a wasting food when millions are starving; "Take It Like a Woman" decries spousal abuse and "Cold Machines" is about the loss of the human soul in this age of technology.

It's great, heartfelt stuff and - with terrific songwriting and musicianship backing it up - it's a hell of a CD. I see a Grammy nomination in Alice's future.

But fans of Alice's light-hearted material need not fret. There's some fun stuff here, too. "Pick Up the Pieces" begins "Collecting pieces of my family in an old pillow case. This one has a skull but it don't have a face" and "It's the Little Things" has a verse that says it all: "You can burn my house; You can cut my hair; You can make me wrestle naked with a grizzly bear; You can poison my cat, baby, I don't care. But if you talk in the movies, I'll kill you right there."

There isn't a bad song on "Brutal Planet," although "Pessi-mystic," which Alice wrote with his longtime assistant Brian Nelson (aka "Renfield) and producer Bob Marlette, comes close. The song itself isn't bad but it's repetitious chorus of "Shut up, shut up, shut up" grates quickly on the nerves.

"Brutal Planet" is a great Alice Cooper album and great rock'n'roll. Alice isn't a legend for nothing and this album - some thirty years after he first put on the makeup - proves it.

"Welcome to My Nightmare" (Atlantic)
Reviewed by Snidermann
Rated 4 out of 4

Alice Cooper’s "Welcome To My Nightmare" was released on Atlantic Recording Corporation in 1975. This was Cooper's first musical endeavor without the boyhood friends he had recorded previous records with. Cooper was ready to expand his stage show to include more, larger theatrics and overall bigger stage shows. However, the band thought the show was too large already and should be scaled back. The Alice Cooper band disbanded and each member went on to pursue their individual music careers.

Vincent Furnier took his stage persona of Alice Cooper and what he did with the character is nothing less than rock'n'roll history.

Every track on this classic album belongs in a hard rock Hall of Fame. Those tracks include the title cut, "Devil's Food" (narrated by the late Vincent Price as the curator), "The Black Widow," "Some Folks," "Only Women Bleed" (Cooper's bit hit about spousal abuse), "Department Of Youth," "Cold Ethyl" (a lovely ditty about necrophilia), "Years Ago," "Steven" (a visit into the mind of an insane man), "The Awakening," and, finally, "Escape."

Bob Ezrin - who went on to fame with other bands such as Pink Floyd and KISS, produced this masterpiece and he had a major influence in the modern conception of what Alice Cooper is today.

The strange and twisted musical content of "Nightmare" is as relevant today as it was in 1975. Easily my favorite album of all time and arguably on of the best ever recorded, it isn't fair to rate such a classic. But, we've got a system though so I'll glad brand this one with the max.