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Still Not Black Enough
Released: 1995, Castle Records
Editors Note. Metal-Rules.com was founded in 1995 as a forward thinking site. Our goal is, and always has been, to support Real Metal. The decision was made that very rarely do we ever go back and review an album from before 1995. Does the world really need another CD review of Master Of Puppets, Powerslave or Screaming For Vengeance? We don’t think so. We have always supported what is happening now.
Starting in January, 2014, as we head towards our 10,000th review and the 20th Anniversary of Metal-Rules.com, we are looking back and filling in a few gaps in the review database. We want to complete the post-1995 review catalogue of some of the bands that we have supported since 1995, when very few, if any website were supporting real Metal. It’s fun to go back and revisit some of these albums that we did not review when they were first released. Enjoy!
Perhaps it is telling that Blackie Lawless himself considers STILL NOT BLACK ENOUGH one of the worst of the W.A.S.P. catalog. No question the band was missing Chris Holmes, with former Kiss producer Bob Kulick -who often filled in for Ace Frehley in studio session when Frehley was off crashing cars and running amok – filling in on guitar. Not surprisingly, STILL NOT BLACK ENOUGH sounded much like THE CRIMSON IDOL and with Lawless, Kulick, and Frank Banali handling drums, there was no band to promote for a tour and album promotion likewise suffered. To pile it on, critics were middling in their reviews or outright panned the album. A curious development though was that a substantial number of fans happened to really like the album.
STILL NOT BLACK ENOUGH was originally planned as a solo album, but Blackie changed his mind and used himself and the struggles that he was going through at the time as the source material for the lyrics and semi-concept of the album. Released in Japan in 1995, a label to carry the album in the U.S. was not found until August of 1996. The good songs are indeed memorable, and songs like the title track, “Black Forever”, “Goodbye America”, and the introspective “Scared To Death” all reveals the despair and melancholy Blackie was enduring at that time. I am probably one of the few that thinks that the ballads are actually decent, even if a bit sappy. Missteps would be the cover tune “Somebody To Love and in the same vein, Blackie’s continued infatuation with 50’s and 60’s music on “Rock And Roll To Death.” All three sounds horribly misplaced to my ears, and Blackie’s obsession with throwing cover songs onto practically every W.A.S.P. album was gratingly predictable and at this point unwelcome (the US version also featured “Tie Your Mother Down”, another misplaced song).
The other minor complaint is that this album is essentially THE CRIMSON IDOL part two, and the inter album connectedness is reminiscent of Metallica’s similar strategy From RIDE THE LIGHTNING through …AND JUSTICE FOR ALL. Following up what would be a fan favorite is always difficult, but rehashing the same album with practically no innovation bothered me then and now. However, the final tally reveals STILL NOT BLACK ENOUGH to be a decent album, one that I still play and one that many W.A.S.P. fans continue to include as a favorite
01. Still Not Black Enough
02. Somebody To Love
[Jefferson Airplane cover]
03. Black Forever
04. Scared To Death
05. Goodbye America
06. Keep Holding On
07. Rock And Roll To Death
09. I Can't
10. No Way Out Of Here
Blackie Lawless - Vocals, Guitars (rhythm), Bass, Sitar, Piano, Organ, Keyboards
Stet Howland - Drums
Frankie Banali - Drums
Bob Kulick - Guitar
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