The early eighties were heavily unkind to Alice Cooper, releasing four albums that which would have sunk other artists’ careers, he had struggled to survive the blackout drinking and the dismal and atrocious records Flush The Fashion (1980), Special Forces (1981), Zipper Catches Skin (1982), and Dada (1983); however he worked hard to regain his sobriety (still never recalls much about making those 4-records) and finally stormed back with this successful release in 1986. I thought only fitting to review this album at the same time I reviewed Friday the 13th, Part VI: Jason Lives [1986] as a few of the tracks were connected to the Constrictor album besides, I am a huge Alice Cooper fan and enjoy the record very much, which was released on September 22, 1986. Before he made the Constrictor album, he starred in an ultra-low budgeted horror film entitle Monster Dog [1984] and contributed two songs to that film, then he was a guest singer on Twisted Sister’s “Be Chrool to Your Scuel” and starred in the music video. Once in early 1986, he began developing the album, with a mixture of heavy metal, some solid shredding and bit pop toss in all done to launch Alice back into the spotlight.

For this album, a new group of musicians backed him, first guitarist Kane Roberts who assisted with the songwriting and would stay on for Raise Your Fist and Yell [1987], although he made guest appearances on two other Alice’s records. Then bassist Kip Winger was added who also stayed to another breakout record entitled Trash [1989] but started to leave in 1988 as he launched his solo career, and finally David Rosenberg on drums.

“Teenage Frankenstein” kicks off the album in the right direction, using some excellent shredding guitar work, making it a very appealing song, and was feature in Friday the 13th, Part VI: Jason Lives along with close-out track “He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)”. The opening song also has a teen anthem theme which feels as a throwback to his legendary “I’m Eighteen” track. The second song “Give It Up” harkens back to a solid rock n’ roll driven song, some wonder where this base-point in the industry and genres went, well Alice Cooper is one of the few artists still combining metal and rock together, for many decades, here is another fine example it. “Thrill My Gorilla,” is song more than less written by Roberts, as he was obsessed with the Japanese culture and the name Suki was used, which often associated, and the gorilla portion is more of possibly sexual reference. There’s a solid chorus on both “Life And Death Of The Party” and “Simple Disobedience” and each are straightforward and perhaps a tad simplistic on lyrics; however, the easiest path delivers the goods on the tracks and one again a quicken tempo on “The World Needs Guts.” The track “The Great American Success Story” was supposedly written for the classic comedy film Back to School (1986) that starred Rodney Dangerfield, sadly it wasn’t chosen and to note a big mistake from the film studio, and marked another time that one of his songs intended for a movie was dismissed; previously for the James Bond film The Man with the Golden Gun (1974) that starred Christopher Lee, the song of the same name from the Muscle of Love [1973]. Nevertheless, this time he had success his song “He’s Back,” was chosen as the theme song for Friday the 13th, Part 6, along with other tracks of his, leading to cool video and he embrace his shock rock and horror themes once again. That movie and the heavy rotation on MTV help introduce Alice to a whole new generation of fans who help marry metal and horror movies together.

Track List:
Teenage Frankenstein
Give It Up
Thrill My Gorilla
Life And Death Of The Party
Simple Disobedience
The World Needs Guts
Trick Bag
The Great American Success Story
He’s Back (The Man Behind the Mask)

Band Members:
Alice Cooper – vocals
Kane Roberts – guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
David Rosenberg – drums
Kip Winger – bass guitar, backing vocals

Production: Produced by Beau Hill

Paul Delph – keyboards, background vocals on “He’s Back”

Tom Kelly – background vocals on “He’s Back”

Beau Hill – background vocals, production


Overall, ‘Constrictor’ is a considered by many as a highly underrated album, sadly it comes from the visuals, which had pink on the back and spine of CD, some other releases of the album were in cheery yellow; but all of them had a cheaply cut boa constrictor snake, which is pasted over Alice’s mouth. Well looks can be and are often well deceiving, the judgement for this comes the listening, which can last for a long time on repeat play. In the end, the album helped Alice return as a motivated artist once more, and learn to keep his sobriety, and another successful tour to support the album, and continues that trend with many of his future releases.

Baron’s Rating: 3.5/5.0

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