From the initial impact of the blitzing guitars and the rampaging instrumentation behind Alice Cooper’s coarse, but comforting voice comes the beauty within Killer. The fourth studio record and a continuingly impressive display from Cooper’s band of tricks that works in horns, ambiance, and a new direction that sounds refined within the process.
“Under My Wheels” is the explosive first track that is an energetic capturing of the listener’s attention, grasping them belligerently and then forcing them to witness this grand scale of sound. It comes with the progressive push toward the rushed performance as Cooper explains, “Telephone is ringing, you got me on the run. I’m driving in my car now, I got you under my wheels.” He falls as this anti-hero that crowds can monitor and somehow behind all the madness, relate to.
The brakes are applied as the band moves into “Be My Lover” where Cooper is recruiting Dennis Dunaway on the bass and backing vocals, Neal Smith on percussion and backing vocals, and then Glen Buxton on the lead guitar. Not only does Michael Bruce handle the rhythm guitars, but he also performs on the pianos and organ which play a monumental piece to the puzzle of uncovering the fierce ability that the Alice Cooper Band had behind them. It was a straight razor of precision that managed to also use Bob Ezrin on the keys as this foreboding force of nature.
Most of the real tension comes from the way that the instrumental sections are laid out to actually push Alice Cooper away from the spotlight and to illustrate the finesse that the band had. It was a group that could work tracks like “Halo of Flies” into this warped sense of building heat that rises and eventually bursts as Cooper reappears like an apparition. He portrays this material world of what could only be described as bounty hunter proportions. A “watch that turns into a lifeboat,” until falling into a crash of epic stature where Cooper becomes this rampant animal. He screeches and claws his ways into the ear describing, “And I put a time bomb in your submarine. Goodbye to old friends, the secret’s in hand…” before falling back behind this velvet curtain of an instrumental.
One of the final tracks on Killer is a self-titled one that works to rearrange this overarching sense of dread that follows into the blood-drenched sunset. “I gave it everything…” describes Cooper as the guitar slithers along like the boa constrictor on the cover of the album. It slithers into the listener’s lap and eventually coils around them before squeezing as a last step into the discretion.
Before the curtain draws, Cooper dawns a black cloak that acts as a funeral march into the descending moments of Killer. A fitting end to the ultimately dramatic but engaging piece. The dirt covers the recently dug grave which leads to a lonesome shadow in the distance that is under the cover of nightfall by the end of the 36-minute journey.