The raw-edged sound and transparently vicious image of the original Cooper band required that Alice’s voice be defiantly non-musical. At the onset of his solo career, however, “Only Women Bleed” convinced many that he could carry a tune. Not surprisingly, when Alice Cooper Goes to Hell reaches for dramatic impact, he displays a tasteful, if not terribly original, vocal sense. This is particularly true of “I Never Cry,” the album’s obvious single.
As usual, it won’t strain the imagination to envision Goes to Hell‘s stage production. Alice has been condemned to disco dance for eternity in a hell where the devil is a DJ with a voice like Barry White’s. This owes more to Rod Serling than Dante, but it’s suited to Cooper’s performing abilities, and the narrative is much more sound than Welcome to My Nightmare‘s.
Unfortunately, while the plot benefits Cooper’s lyrics, the music, written by guitarist Dick Wagner, seems an afterthought. (One notable exception is “Go to Hell,” a shouted chant dominated by the guitars of Wagner, Steve Hunter and John Tropea.) Unfortunately, Cooper has never been less threatening. All the machine-gun chords of Wagner and Hunter can’t change the fact that his infamy was long ago expended. The soppy old standard, “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows,” probably expresses his musical sympathies much better than this record’s dynamic, if derivative, rock & roll.