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Willow

Title - 'The Last Temptation: 20th Anniversary Edition'
Artist - Alice Cooper

As has been told before, and once you listen to this album (again) you will hear with your own ears for yourself, after the more poppy, mainstream Hey Stoopid (1991), which in itself followed the worldwide smash Trash (1989), the highly-conceptual The Last Temptation (1994) became a HUGE departure from those other more commercially orientated predecessors.

Indeed, here on The Last Temptation: 20th Anniversary Edition we begin our journey alongside the master of shock rock Alice Cooper takes us down the path towards both Brutal Planet and eventually DragonTown. The Last Temptation tells the story of Steven, who we first all met way back in 'Welcome To My Nightmare', again in 'Goes to Hell,' and at the very end of 'Hey Stoopid.'

On The Last Temptation, Steven starts out as being bored with life. Nothing seems to get his interest. This opens the door for the Lord of Darkness himself, Satan to come in and help Steven out. Satan makes Steven an offer that is hard to refuse. All the pleasures this world has (power, money, sex, etc.). But what Steven is not told is that there is a price to pay for accepting these devilish things!

Sp, having loved the work of Alice Cooper ever since I picked up a 12” vinyl copy of ‘Under My Wheels Live’ back in the day, and knowing that he had various periods in his career where albums came out too fast to match his creative juices, the reissue of ‘The Last Temptation’ (1994) is curious due to just that fact. An album that didn’t stir any media love at the time, didn’t even produce any hit singles, it’s still a decent Cooper album - just not great.

We begin with ‘Sideshow,’ a track that initially fools you into believing the acoustic guitar work is the foundation to the track, but that soon dissipates and a mellow rock out soon follows. With Cooper sounding like he was channeling Elton John, it’s a guitar-pop combo outing (a framework for the entire album, if truth be told), for sure. Next up is ’Nothing’s Free,’ where Cooper continues to remain subdued, before the first single release from the album, the fist-pumpin’ ’Lost In America’ finally allows Cooper to raise his voice.

The more sedate, finger-snappin’ ‘Bad Place Alone’ is next and is backed by both the dark plod of ‘You’re My Temptation’ and the gentle sway sing-along of ‘Stolen Prayer.’ Then comes the album track ‘Unholy War’ which is backed by the dark nightmare storytelling of ‘Lullaby.’ The album then rounds out with both the pure-pop flow of ‘It's Me’ and then finally the plodding ‘Cleansed By Fire.’

And, if you were still following along with the storytelling subplot at this juncture, I guess you'll want to know if Steven makes the right choice? Well, listen to The Last Temptation and find out. It is one of the most powerful albums Alice Cooper has ever put out, but definitely one for the AC connoisseur. If nothing else it was the perfect launching pad for the rest of the Brutal Planet trilogy.

Reviewed by: Russell A. Trunk

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