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Album Review ? Alice Cooper: Along Came A Spider

This is the part Alice Cooper was born to play.

This is the part Alice Cooper was born to play. Assuming the role of a serial killer who imagines himself a spider, the dark, clown prince of hard rock constructs a concept-album plot that dispenses with the usual horror-show clichés and delivers a series of labyrinthian twists and turns that rivals “The Sixth Sense” for suspense and surprise.

Even more satisfying is how Cooper and company soak their contemporary metal sound in the garage-rock creosote of the original Alice Cooper band. Setting the tone for this dark carnival is the slashing opener “Prologue — I Know Where You Live,” with its banging cowbell and Cooper’s sinister vocal sneer.

Echoes of “Under My Wheels” are heard in “(In Touch With) Your Feminine Side” and the gnarly hooks, barbed-wire guitars and stomping beats of “Wrapped In Silk.” And while they all represent a welcome resurrection of past glories, there’s still enough of a serpentine, metallic density to “Vengeance Is Mine” and “Catch Me If You Can” to satisfy those who got hip to Alice through “Poison.”

With the venomous bite of the guitars here, Alice has never sounded more creepy or scary. Welcome back to the nightmare.