Alice Cooper has recorded for a variety of different labels over the course of his career, and it seems as if each label has issued a respective "best-of" collection. During most of the late '80s/early '90s, Alice's home was Epic Records, for which he issued 1989's Trash, 1991's Hey Stoopid, 1994's The Last Temptation, and 1995's Classicks, and this is the era that's highlighted on the 2003 16-track compilation Hell Is. Although he scored his first hit album in years with Trash (thanks to the hit single "Poison" and contributions from Jon Bon Jovi and Steven Tyler), Alice continued with this pop-metal approach on Hey Stoopid. Bad move, as it soon stuck out like a sore thumb among such burgeoning hard rock styles as thrash metal and grunge. As a result, Alice returned to the sprawling, conceptual approach of such past classics as Welcome to My Nightmare for The Last Temptation. While Temptation may not have boosted his commercial appeal, it at least restored his standing among his legion of fans, before Alice fulfilled his contract with the half-compilation/half-concert set, Classicks. Instead of buying all four of these schizophrenic albums, Hell Is will probably be the wisest choice for most, as it collects such highlights as the aforementioned "Poison" and the underrated "Stolen Prayer" (which was penned by Soundgarden's Chris Cornell, who also makes a vocal cameo), as well as live renditions of such Alice classics as "School's Out" and "Go to Hell."
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Greg Prato