If you saw an Alice Cooper tribute album with names like Slash, Dave Mustaine, Bruce Dickinson, Dee Snyder, Zakk Wylde, and Ronnie Jame Dio, you'd do the same thing I did and pick up the album. Then you'll have a similar experience to what I went through, which is a mix between disappointment and pleasant surprise.
There are two versions of this CD that I've owned over the years. The original release, which only contained eleven tracks, and I found to be a bit a of a let down. Then there's the special deluxe edition, which is what I'm calling it, that contains fourteen songs, cooler packaging, and is much better.
Welcome To My Nightmare kicks off the album, with Ronnie Jame Dio handling the vocals, which is really cool. But, not as cool as you'd hope. It's like he opted to play it mellow instead of doing his normal Dio wildness. Musically I find the song sounds kind of rushed, and not in a cool sped up tempo kind of way. It's more like a "Let's get this done and over with." However, the song itself is done well and is enjoyable.
When this tribute was originally released it was all individual artists getting together on various tracks, and you can tell most of them were recorded separately. When the new edition came out, the three added tracks were performed by actual bands. The first one to appear on the album is Iced Earth, which perform my favourite Alice track, Dead Babies. If they had fucked this up, I would have hunted them down and fucked them up. That's not the case though. Iced Earth performed the classic, as it was meant to be performed. The only problem with this cover is that it's not Alice. So, I tip my hat to these guys.
Dave Mustaine, Marty Friedman, Eric Singer, and Bob Daisley all got together to do School's Out, which means it should be totally bitchin'. After all we're talking about half of Megadeth, which did an awesome job of covering No More Mr. Nice Guy in the past. Then there's one of Alice's official drummers, and one of Ozzy's bassists. It all sounds great on paper, but something went wrong with the song. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad cover, but I really expected more. I was expecting it to sound a bit more metal, and less like a knock off. Basically it's just another Scholl's Out cover by another group of guys.
When this album was originally released there were only two tracks that really stood out. The first one was Black Widow, which is performed by Bruce Dickinson (which also performs the Vincent Price speech), Adrian Smith, Tommy Aldridge and Derek Sherinian. They don't only do this song well, but they hit it out of the park. Let's start with Metal's best living vocalist, and also one of Metal's most overlooked guitarists. Tommy is a keyboardist, that's played with everyone, including Alice, and Tommy is a drummer that has also played with everyone. Between the four of them, they perfect this song.
Now the next track is a bit of a weird spot for me. I'm not a fan of the Trash album, and there's only a couple of songs on the album that I full out like, Bed Of Nails is not one of them. I'm also not a fan of Black/Death Metal, which means that Children Of Bodom do nothing for me. Now take that song, mix it with that band, and you get a really cool take on that song. Say what? Seriously, I can't complain about this cover, except for the two complaints already listed. Well, that's not entirely true. After the 3:30 marker the song gets a bit silly for me.
The second track I was impressed with on the original release of this album was Go To Hell. Basically Zakk Wylde and Dee Snyder hit this one out of the park, but it's Frankie Banali's percussion that helped make this song. It's one of the biggest parts of this song, and the Quiet Riot drummer got it spot on. The production on this track is another thing that helps make it awesome. This song was done just so well, that not a fault can be found, and I've tried. This track, along with Black Widow, are good enough reasons to pick up the original release, but this track alone is what's worth the price of admission.
The very first Alice Cooper album I owned, that was mine and only mine, was Raise Your Fist And Yell. That album had me falling in love with a song called Roses On White Lace when I was nine years old. That is a song that I still worship to this day. It is Metal, to the fullest meaning of Metal. When I saw that it was included on this updated release I had to get it. Eventhough I was probably setting myself up to go on a killing spree. If Icarus Witch (The performing group) had fucked this one up, they all would have been dead. I would have had every last fucker executed and hung out on display for the world to see. Thankfully for all involved, that wasn't the case. Not only did they get the song right, they did it exceptionally well. This song flies out of the speakers like an angel of death, just like the original, and that is fucking awesome. This song could have easily been fucked up, but instead they got it right, put their own touches on it, and made it amazing. Icarus Witch I salute you.
From this point on, it's one surprising fuck up after another, with the exception of one track.
When I saw that Mick Mars and Vince Neil were performing Cold Ethyl I was totally excited. However, they fucked up my second favourite Alice Cooper song, and that's not cool. I mean, it's an okay cover, and not a bad enough let down to bring up homicidal urges, but it really falls flat. The flair, excitement and passion of the original just isn't found here. When Alice performed this song, it was easy to believe he was into necrophelia, where as Vince sounds like he's just singing a song. Shame on you vince.
Def Leppard performing Alice Cooper actually sounds pretty good on paper, but when Joe Elliot and Phil Collen take on Under My Wheels they fail to make it their own. It's a well done cover, and the fact that they made damn sure to put the sax in is exceptional, but it wasn't as lively as I had expected. Once again, it sounds more like it's being sung, and not performed. You don't sing Alice. You perform Alice. That's one of the biggest make or breaks on this album.
Duff McKagen can't sing, but he can perform, and that is why his version of Elected is cool. He, along with Billy Duffy, Matt Sorum and Steve Jones (Sex Pistols) rock this one out, in a bad ass Punk attitude. Thus they captured the song right. This song is exactly what I'm talking about when I say perform. They work the mics, work the instruments, and give it one hundred percent. You believe these guys want to be elected.
Roger Daltrey and Slash performing No More Mr. Nice Guy should have been much better than it was. This was the only track from this album that got any radio play that I know of, and this is why the album didn't do better commercially. But to be fair I'm blaming it all on the production of this song. You can tell it was all recorded separately, and it really hurts a track that should have been much better. What makes it even worse is the fact that Mike Inez and Carmine Appice were also on this track. But, the only people really standing out are Roger and Slash, and Roger was the one that got all the production attention.
The only nice thing I'm going to say about the version of Billion Dollar Babies on this album is that it was done well, especially the drums. Vinnie Colaiuta got them pretty much right, which is very impressive. As for the rest of the song, it's okay, but Phil Lewis did a shit job on the vocals. The biggest turn off to this song is those vocals.
You can skip the last two tracks. Eighteen falls flat on it's face, and I always suggest skipping Only Women Bleed.
Eighteen was turned into an 80's Glam Metal track, which isn't cool. I just wasn't impressed with this version. I would suggest checking out the Creed version of this song instead, and that says something.
I have no clue why the fuck they finished off this album with Only Women Bleed, I'm hoping it was so people would get to it. It's just a crappy song to start with, as far as I'm concerned, and this version only makes it worse.
Five out of the fourteen songs on this album are worth owning, Dead Babies, Black Widow, Go To Hell, Roses On White Lace and Elected. After that it's all about personal preferences, and tastes. I would suggest that buyer beware on this album, but if you are going to pick it up, make sure you get the version with fourteen tracks, because if it has less, it is less of an album.
6/10 - content
6/10 - production
7/10 - personal bias