Raise Your Fist And Yell

Alice Cooper

MCA Records, 1987


REVIEW BY: Roland Fratzl


Let me get this straight: for the 1987 follow-up to the previous year's disastrous Constrictor studio album (please see my scathing review of that disc), Alice Cooper somehow managed to convince himself that rehashing the same formula that makes Constrictor unlistenable would be a good idea. Don't ask me what his logic is based on, because it sure wasn't a result of record sales.

Whew...before you even listen to this album, it's exceedingly difficult to remain optimistic about the sounds awaiting you judging by the awfully bad cover artwork (just look at the picture at the top of this review should you need to dislodge a particle stuck in your throat) and the woefully conceived album title, Raise Your Fist And Yell, which practically screams desperation in trying to appeal to a teenage audience. C'mon Alice...you've never had to stoop to such simple mindedness before. It's really kind of sad to see how at the time he was floundering around trying to regain the songwriting skills that he seems to have left at the detox centre.

In any case, Raise Your Fist And Yell offers up another serving of really loud, dumb 80's heavy metal. Predictable and silly in every way imaginable, and I highly recommend leaving your brain elsewhere, as it certainly won't be needed.

Know what though? As ridiculous as this album is, it's actually fun to listen to! Strangely enough, in its very limited purpose it succeeds in every way that Constrictor failed, even though musically they are very similar.

First of all, this is a very heavy album, and it sounds a lot more aggressive than its predecessor, with several main machine gun type guitar riffs nearly approaching thrash metal speeds ("Roses On White Lace", "Freedom"), and the rest of the Judas Priest style riffs sound darker and quite a bit meaner than any we've heard from Alice Cooper up to this point in his career. Dare I say that some of the riffs are even pretty catchy? Seems like Kane Roberts learned a few things about developing more interesting guitar playing techniques in between recording sessions...hell, even his solos this time around have some semblance of melody.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

They got a new drummer for this release, but he sounds only marginally more skilled than the last guy, using the same simplistic mid tempo beat without fills on virtually every track. People might think the drummer's role is not terribly important, but it's quite astonishing how drastically a bad drummer can affect the quality of a release...just look at this album for evidence!

A few other noticeable changes make this album radically more listenable than Constrictor, one of which is Alice. On Constrictor he sounded utterly lost, like he sleepwalked through his vocal parts, but here he sounds like his old fiery self again, giving a very confident, commanding performance, appropriately growling and delivering the lyrics with the kind of sneer needed for such horrific subject matter.

As laughably simplistic as these lyrics are, I swear they will have you in tears...that's how funny they are. They try so hard to be a rebellious fuck you to the establishment ("Lock Me Up", "Give The Radio Back"), mean spirited posturing ("Step On You", "Not That Kind Of Love"), and cartoonish gore filled horror ("Time To Kill", "Chop Chop Chop", and the surprising classical harpsichord ballad "Gail"). It's hilarious how cliched this stuff is, and even if the laughs are unintentional, at least it provides a perverse form of enjoyment at its own expense.

The sub-par songwriting that contaminates the vast majority of the record definitely hugely benefits from the much improved production. Everything is loud and clear, and the riffs sound positively monstrous, the way they should.

Raise Your Fist And Yell is far from an essential Alice Cooper purchase, but it's not quite a throwaway either, particularly during his lean years from the mid 80's to early 90's. The band sounds very energetic and determined, and despite the continued poor songwriting quality, there are a few impressive riffs here and there, and don't be surprised to find yourself humming the melodic hooks of a number of the choruses, cheesy though they may be.

I wouldn't dare to venture forth the notion that there's anything resembling a concept here, but I don't think it's a stretch to see that there's an obvious nod to cheesy 80's slasher flicks running through all the songs, which are all quite similar sounding to each other. Even though the album isn't meant to be taken seriously (knowing Alice's humour), it suffers the same fate as the low grade celluloid gorefests that seem to have served as its inspiration: it may be funny, but that's because it's so bad that it's funny, and although on its own provides some form of entertainment, it seems very weak indeed when compared with Alice Cooper's truly classic albums. I heard someone once say that " Raise Your Fist And Yell is the equivalent of an Ed Wood movie in that you'll laugh at how bad it is".

Rating: D+

User Rating: D+



© 2001 Roland Fratzl and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of MCA Records, and is used for informational purposes only.