Next review: » W.A.S.P. - Dominator
Released: 2009, Demolition
Reviewer: Robert Williams
W.A.S.P. has returned with a follow up to 2007's DOMINATOR album with the release of BABYLON. But this is not business as usual for W.A.S.P. as is apparent with the album cover's depiction of the four horsemen. Recent interviews and press releases have noted a change in heart in the now born again Christian Blackie Lawless who has altogether scrapped past live favorites like "(Animal)...Fuck Like A Beast" and changed the lyrics of "Chainsaw Charlie" to better accommodate his newly found spiritual beliefs. BABYLON is a testament to this as lyrically this album deals heavily with "The Book of Revelation" and biblical prophecy. You could say that BABYLON is a more mature effort for W.A.S.P. more in line with THE CRIMSON IDOL than the band's earlier output.
BABYLON opens with "Crazy", an upbeat rocker reminiscent of the classic "Wild Child" that lyrically deals with idolatry and putting one's heroes on a pedestal. "Crazy" has a pretty infectious chorus and is probably the album's most accessible track from the get go. "Live To Die Another Day" plays heavily on dynamics and has a monster melodic chorus line. "Babylon's Burning" is a dead serious musical interpretation of the return of the Horned One's return to the earthly realm, which is interesting in that Blackie has no qualms about singing about Lucifer...yet distances himself from cheap thrills of a profane nature. Having said that "Babylon's Burning" has a lot going for it musically with an interesting guitar melody not unlike something you'd hear from The Cult and a chugging rhythm.
W.A.S.P. turn in an excellent Deep Purple cover in "Burn", one of two cover songs on this disc; the other being "Promised Land" by Chuck Berry that seems a bit out of place amongst the other tracks. "Into The Fire" is the token ultra dramatic and gloomy ballad on BABYLON with Blackie turning in an outstanding vocal performance, definitely on par with any previous jaw droppers. Ever the timeless frontman Mr. Lawless is...Doug Blair scorches his way through a blistering guitar solo on this track as well.
Midway through we get asskickers like "Thunder Road" with its pounding beat and signature larger than life chorus and the pulsing "Seas of Fire", a number that sounds as if it could have been written for THE CRIMSON IDOL album.
Closing out the disc's original material is "Godless Run" which is a little too "mature" sonically and "spiritual" lyrically for my tastes, a far cry from the heavy rockers these guys used to perpetually crank out. This one tends to drag with its two minute build before the drums kick in culminating in an additional three minutes of lead guitar wankery over the simplest of depressing gloom rock structures.
Overall this is an ambitious effort on W.A.S.P.'s part, sure to alienate some of their more traditional fanbase much in the same way that 1997's KILL, FUCK, DIE album did with its electro-shock-rock ambience or THE CRIMSON IDOL did with its more serious tone. W.A.S.P. has never been afraid to try new things sonically or thematically and you really can't fault them for that. On the flipside you really only get seven new W.A.S.P. songs on this disc as the other two tracks are cover tunes. It would have been nice to have two or three more fast and heavy rockers. At the end of the day it's nice to have a new W.A.S.P. album period so I really can't fault them to much for the minor lack of more new material. This one may take a few spins to absorb and get into much like the NEON GOD albums, but should be a rewarding experience for most fans once it clicks with you.
2. Live To Die Another Day
3. Babylon's Burning
5. Into The Fire
6. Thunder Red
7. Seas of Fire
8. Godless Run
9. Promised Land
Blackie Lawless - Lead Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
Mike Duda - Bass, Vocals
Mike Dupke - Drums
Doug Blair - Lead Guitar