Album review: ALICE COOPER – Brutal Planet/Dragontown

Alice Cooper - Brutal Planet/Dragontown

Armoury Records [Release date 07.10.13]

The Noughties saw a resurgence in form and popularity for Alice Cooper, culminating in 2009′s Along Came A Spider – an album which many pundits saw as an updating of his 1st ‘solo’ concept album – 1975′s Welcome To My Nightmare. But as these reissues demonstrate, the decade was one of Alice’s most consistent of his 40 year recording career.

Brutal Planet, with its theme of society breakdown, greed, domestic violence and school shootings, was originally released in 2000 after a six year gap since The Last Temptation. Like its predecessor, Brutal Planet is a dark brooding and heavy album lacking in the more commercial aspects of Alice’s more popular output. And while it’s perhaps not ‘up there’ with his very best it is nevertheless pretty consistent and includes a couple of classics in the shape of ‘It’s The Little Things’, and ‘Take It Like A Woman’.

Hot on the heels and in the slipstream of Brutal Planet came Dragontown (2001) – an album that aped its predecessor in terms of style and theme, and described by the Coop as ‘the worst town on Brutal Planet’. Again produced by Bob Marlette and with Ryan Roxie (an ever present throughout this period) on guitar, it simply takes the blueprint of Brutal Planet and pops another consistently strong set out of the sausage machine. Highlights? The excellent ‘Fantasy Man’, and ‘Every Woman Has A Name’.

The two albums are now packaged together as the first release on the ‘Armoury Classics’ imprint.  They are straight reissues with no bonus tracks but afford a value-for-money peek into the Coop’s persisting popularity at the start of the millennium. ***1/2

Review by Pete Whalley

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