Not Too Shabby-lon (Sorry)
A lot has happened since W.A.S.P. released their last truly great album, The Crimson Idol. A black democrat president is in the White House, Blackie Lawless has found god, oh & he’s now rocking the Mischa Barton/Yngwie Malmsteen coke bloat look. Currently, Blackie see’s himself as some sort of prophetic messenger predicting a biblical apocalypse at the hands of a single New World Order style shadowy organisation. As far as crazed conspiracy theories, it’s up there with David Icke but as an idea for an album I’ve heard a lot worse.
If you are wanting an epic concept album that will forever be considered the yardstick by which all metal concept albums (sorry, Maiden, Dream Theater) then stick with Crimson Idol. To be fair, this isn’t a true concept album, it’s a mix of spoken bible passages & songs on a theme in Blackie’s inimitable growl.
Babylon features the same lineup that gave us mediocre-fest Dominator but don’t let that put you off. Tracks Babylon’s Burning & Seas of Fire are W.A.S.P. doing what they do best; fast, catchy metal songs with awesome hooks. There’s also a cover of Deep Purple’s Burn that didn’t make it onto Dominator for licensing reasons but it fits better here & sits well with the theme of the album.
The album closes with an epic, slow-burning ballad, Godless Run, on the subject of Blackie’s past, his faith & it’s by far the strongest song they’ve released in the last 15 years. They follow this up with an brilliant cover of Promised Land by Chuck Berry & I get the feeling it may have been more than a minor influence on their classic track, Blind In Texas off The Last Command.
This is not a future classic but it is a solid album & a step in the right direction. W.A.S.P. may no longer fuck like beasts but Babylon proves they’ve still got what it takes to rock like motherfuckers.