Reviewed: June 2002
Released: 2002, Metal-Is Records
W.A.S.P. are back and sounding more classic then they have in recent years. In my opinion, this does not mean they are rehashing, just that they are playing what they do best! I’ve listened to this band since the first album and I can tell you this album even tops UNHOLY TERROR in re-capturing the glory of what W.A.S.P. are all about. With a band that I’ve listened to for so long, the music on a new album not only will be compared to previous releases but they are compared to memories…memories of cranking W.A.S.P.’s self titled album and THE LAST COMMAND on my crappy walkman in school when I was a kid. Since I’ve loved metal, I’ve loved W.A.S.P. and I know I’m old enough and set in my ways enough to say that I always will. The line-up for DYING FOR THE WORLD is: Blackie Lawless (lead vocals, guitars, keyboards), Mike Duda (bass guitar & vocals), Darrell Roberts (lead guitar & vocals), and Frankie Banali (drums).
DYING FOR THE WORLD opens with the mid-paced track “Shadow Man.” This is a good song and classic sounding for W.A.S.P. but is not something that grabs you right away with its intensity. The introspective “My Wicked Heart” follows, this would have been a more fitting opener but that’s only of minor note. Blackie’s vocals have hardly changed over time. He has one of those instantly recognizable voices that sound like no one else. The solo in this song by Darrell Roberts is played very much to the style that mean man Chris Holmes laid down for W.A.S.P. in the past. He doesn’t sound like Chris, but they are not as different as night from day. It was unfortunate that Chris left the band following the UNHOLY TERROR recording sessions. Darrell joined prior to the previous tour, so that fact allowed him to fully understand the immense shoes he had to fill by having to perform Chris’s material live. The topic of religion is something that was dealt with a lot on UNHOLY TERROR…it is again the inspiration
“Black Bone Torso” which begins slow with clean guitar – vaguely reminiscent of something from THE HEADLESS CHILDREN. This is the intro to “Hell For Eternity” which is so-so but didn’t grab me as much as some of the other tracks. A number of tracks on here are influenced by recent world events. The horrendous events of Sept.11th provide the inspiration for one of the albums strongest tracks – “Hallowed Ground.“ The solos in this one bleed and prove that Mr. Roberts is indeed a worthy replacement for Holmes (even though I’ll always miss him from the line-up). This song is also preformed acoustically at the end of the album. “Rubberman” is right now my second favorite track on the CD. The song’s main riff that begins the song is simple, memorable, yet very effective. “Trail Of Tears” is another personal song to Blackie. While it is strong lyrically, this song is very slow and gets monotonous, as it doesn’t really go anywhere. “Stone Cold Killers” provides us with typical W.A.S.P.. Much of the riffing involves ringing out chords. There’s not a lot in the way of fast picking or distinct notes in the rhythms thus making a lot of songs have this “wall of guitar” sound. I guess it’s the style, but it would be nice to hear something a little more “notey” here and there! But hey, most of us listen to W.A.S.P. for the vocals (and the lyrics) after all!
W.A.S.P. is a band that some just does not understand. Some find them “amusing” or even worse. To me they are an example of a great heavy metal band that is as strong and as relevant today as they were in 1984…if not more so!! If you are a W.A.S.P. fan then I have no doubt you will be into this album.
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