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BRINGS THE GOODS - BUT NOT THE GREATS...
on 27 April 2009
I'm so happy that Blackie hasn't copped out and hung up his saw blades because a new W.A.S.P. release for me is always an exciting prospect and something I can rely on in one way or another. Now W.A.S.P. has built up quite the catalogue since 82 and as much as it hurts me as a fan to say it not all releases have been of, shall we say, the finest quality. If you too are a fan you know which you constantly rock out to and the ones that are gathering dust in your rack, but to a new comer such an immense body of work can be quite daunting, and it's a task to pluck out the finest of the bunch. Hopefully the actual fan reviews on here will help in some way but, with these points in mind, there's no sense in burying our heads in the sand and telling people that everything W.A.S.P. produces is solid gold or we'd be doing them both them and the band a disservice. So what's the score with their latest outing into the hard rock arena? Is it a true knock out or a one round embarrassment? Well I hope this little pros and cons list will help you better decide if this is the fix you've been waiting for...
THE HIGH NOTES:
- It's all well produced enough.
- Blackie's voice is as recognisably gravelly and awesome as ever, and at times a lot more emotional and brooding than usual (if that's possible) but...(see first point in `THE SNAPPED STRINGS' list.)
- There are a couple of tracks on here that'll sit comfortably in your best of W.A.S.P. playlists quite nicely. Mercy, Take Me Up, Burning Man and Heaven's Hung In Black are my personal faves.
- Some fantastic guitar work backed up with some interesting (subtly used) synths and solid drumming.
- The slower more melodic tracks work particularly well on this release and seem more prominent that on most previous efforts. This offers a nice selection of tempos and moods to a relatively short album.
THE SNAPPED STRINGS:
- Call me a sucker for the old school but I love it when Blackie blast out a true high pitched metal scream but this is something which, strangely, seems missing from this release. There is a point half way through `The Burning Man' which seems perfectly built up for this exact purpose but it just kicks back into the main chorus which took some of the edge off an awesome track - it could have been absolutely perfect but as it stands it's still fantastic track. Also in Heaven's Blessed we get a few `woo's!' but it feels like they took the place of some proper screamers (maybe this is just me and I know it's niggling but there it is).
- I completely agree with `S.Kumar' when he says the latter part of the album isn't as strong as the first, and with an album this short it needed nothing but skull crushers all the way but it's just not the case.
- The production is decent and most elements are represented decently enough, but for me it could have all been a bit chunkier, bassier and deeper sounding. It's good but something missing (not just Blackie's proper high pitch wails).
- Again: it's short. Perhaps as fans we will always want more but I will say this, I prefer albums to be short and good rather than long and packed with fillers, it's just that, as I and others have said before, the latter part of the album feels a touch filled out. Perhaps Blackie needed a new car or something, we'll never know, but I feel a bit more time writing could have made this a true winner.
ROCK OR NOT?
This isn't the perfect W.A.S.P. album by any means but it still constantly blows me away that they can pack in some classics even after so long. Blackie has obviously got some wicked inspiration going on to keep it rolling for so long and this is an admirable job. It's not a long album, it's not their best album but gets the job done in more than a few spots and has sated me till the next release, which will hopefully sit side by side with my faves - as it goes this is in my back-up pile.