When I heard Alice Cooper was releasing an album called Welcome 2 My Nightmare, I cringed. The first thing that came to mind was Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell, the disappointing 1993 sequel to Meat’s 1977 melodramatic masterpiece Bat Out of Hell. Clearly there was reason to be concerned; lightning, after all, rarely strikes twice.


Fortunately, Cooper’s new release proves to be a worthy successor to his 1975 classic Welcome to My Nightmare. Part of the reason is producer Bob Ezrin, who teamed up with Cooper for the original Nightmare, is again at the helm. A master at creating mood and atmosphere, on Welcome 2 Ezrin successfully recaptures the chemistry that made this initial pairing so engaging.


But what really makes the album avoid becoming a Bat-tastrophe is that Cooper and his co-writers bothered to come up with a batch of solid tunes. Cooper happily jumps from one musical genre to the next as he cackles his way through the vaudevillian-style “Last Man on Earth,” gives us some old-time rock ‘n’ roll with the catchy “Ghouls Gone Wild,” turns tender with the ballad “Something to Remember Me By” and trades lines with Ke$ha on the funky “What Baby Wants.” Along the way, he welcomes other guests such as old friend Rob Zombie, country star Vince Gill and ’80s hair-metal icon Kip Winger; he even gives us one of the best song titles in recent memory with “Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever,” during which he raps his way through the verses.


His most solid effort since 1994’s powerful The Last Temptation. Cooper’s latest Nightmare is a dream come true for old and young fans alike.