Originally Published: June 11, 1994 ~
Alice, What's The Matter?
Author: Dave Reynolds
'The Last Temptation'
(Epic 476594 2)
I can think of other things far more tempting than the latest Alice Cooper offering, to be honest. And I fear that only die-hard Coop freaks will fully appreciate the finer elements of the album.
As a concept records go, this baby is a big sluggish. Still, it is Alice's first full-on effort since 'From The Inside', so perhaps he could be forgiven if the plot gets a little cloudy or the music just becomes a little lame at times. And hopefully, the great man can find it in himself to forgive those of us who can't fully comprehend just what he's attempting here...
Whilst Alice's co-players this time around are a little on the faceless side (although guitarist Stef Burns might be remembered for his role in the final line-up of Y&T), the 'star' names are relegated to the songwriting side, the list including Damb Yankees' Jack Blades and Tommy Shaw, Soundgarden's Chris Cornell and former Icon guitarist Dan Wexler!
'The Last Temptation' drifts into life with 'Sideshow', by no means a hard-hitting introductory number. 'Nothing's Free' follows, with a refrain that could've been borrowed from The Cult. Thankfully, the third track, 'Lost In America', finally brings things up to suitable K! levels of excellence. The first single, it has bite as well as some well observed lyrics on the subject of today's 'Beavis And Butt-Head' generation.
For the next 15 minutes or so, 'The Last Temptation' gives its all - 'Bad Place Alone' is as sinister as it gets. 'You're My Temptation' (the part in the tale where the main character Steven becomes captivated by The Showman's assistant, Mercy) betrays its Blades/Shaw co-writing credit the first time the chorus kicks in, whilst 'Unholy War' throws a little Funk and, um, Grunge into the mix for the Coop to play with remarkably well.
Look at the writing credit and you'll find Chris Cornell's name there all on its lonesome, a considerable better effort than 'Stolen Prayer', which the pair wrote together.
It all goes down hill from here, the subsequent material just not grabbing the attention the way it should for an Alice Cooper album.
And what of the companion Marvel comic book that ties in with the album's concept? The first issue will be packaged with the record, with the second and third parts given away with subsequent single releases. The first part introduces the main characters - and, er, that's really about it. Will the action heat up? Buy the singles, I guess!