W.A.S.P. - 'Babylon' (Demolition) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gaz E   
Monday, 21 September 2009 19:32


1waspcdThere is a teenager inside of me - admittedly, not every night - that gets a little excited at the merest mention of the names Blackie Lawless and W.A.S.P. mainly because, for a tormented time in the mid 80's, those names were synonymous with danger.....heavy metal danger. Drinking blood from skulls, busty wenches on the rack, raw meat, saw blade codpieces - these things made us L.O.V.E. W.A.S.P., but then a slightly less dangerous foray into hair metal territory and a dalliance with some Ghoulies ensured that many of us found our danger in the back-combed arenas of others. When Blackie turned serious again, many of us had walked down a different path with little chance of turning back.....



Although my interest in the band's albums had returned at sporadic, bandwagon jumping intervals - the industrial aural assault of 'K.F.D' and the retro-rock revival of 'Helldorado' - it wasn't until I caught a kind of 'Greatest Hits' live show that I fully appreciated W.A.S.P. again. Sure, there was a hint of irony behind my reaction but it was clear that Lawless realised that he had to look back to go forward. And that is the case with 'Babylon', themed around biblical visions of The Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse and with Blackie quoting 'The Headless Children' in reference to the new album, old school is the new black.....but is that still not black enough?



How could a W.A.S.P. fan not love opening track and first single - and first promo video in fourteen years! - 'Crazy'? 'Wild Child' anyone? Although I was surprised that Lawless had gone even further back than the afore-mentioned 'Headless Children' - especially given the album's subject matter - you can't really blame the fella for tapping into his hit list on occasion. Needs must, and all that. 'Live To Die Another Day' is another of Blackie's career love letters to The Who, haunted by a vintage hook that will have long-term fans weeping into their sparkling crotches. 'Babylon's Burning' chugs out the album theme but the spoken middle section about horned beasts sounds, unfortunately, just like Tenacious D.



Wasn't the cover version of Deep Purple's 'Burn' recorded for previous album 'Dominator'? Does that really fit with the concept? Either way, this version is as good as can be expected, with the band certainly making the song sound their own. 'Into The Fire' is a sombre six minutes that gives Lawless the chance to warm the ears with his trademark vocals. 'Thunder Red' sounds like it could have been on 'The Last Command' which should tell you immediately how much you will like it. 'Seas Of Fire' references 'Wild Child' - again! - while 'Godless Run' throbs with drama on an epic scale. Album closer 'Promised Land' is a cover of the Chuck Berry tune - yeah, you read that right! - and is a slightly curious inclusion (complete with Elvis impression) that just confuses the listener into thinking that maybe Blackie didn't really fancy fully reading up on the Four Horsemen. Sure, the title of the song kinda fits if you squint your ears but, c'mon, an album's theme, concept, giving way to two cover versions when there are only nine tracks on the entire album?



Don't misunderstand me, this is the best W.A.S.P. album that I have heard in many a year. It is unashamedly old school, in both sound and concept, yet the inclusion of the covers devalues the whole biblical concept. If you couldn't care less about the mythos and just want to rock out with one of your favourite metal bands and its legendary frontman, then you will love this album. I just get the feeling that Blackie Lawless is looking at the state of the world from atop his wobbly micstand, and preaching to the converted. In order to win over those who have lapsed he needs to do just one thing - put the finest heavy metal song ever written, 'Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)', back in the live set.......