Bursting on the scene back in 1982 clad in leather, circular saws and flaming cod pieces whilst bathing their audiences in blood and chunks of meat was W.A.S.P. Blackie Lawless is the sole survivor from the original line up but in much the same way that Dave Mustaine is Megadeth, Blackie is W.A.S.P. Now 33 years down the line they have released “Golgotha”, their fifteenth record.
“Golgotha” sees W.A.S.P. return to the sound of their first two, and arguably their best, albums. With the anthemic opening duo ‘Scream’ and ‘Last Runaway’ that mission is well and truly accomplished. Containing the iconic chainsaw guitar sound and the irrepressible sense of melody, they are excellent bedfellows of classics ‘Wild Child’ and ‘I Wanna Be Somebody’. The super ‘Shotgun’ adds to this canon as well, being a triumphantly upbeat rocker. Blackie’s steely growl has not deteriorated in the slightest, impervious to the changes 33 years can bring.
One thing that has changed is the shock and awe antics and profane lyrics that made them infamous, and brought the ire of Tipper Gore. Like Alice Cooper Blackie is a born again Christian, even refusing to play ‘Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)’ live ever again. As such the rest of the record continues the Biblical themes of 2009’s “Babylon”, with the most apparent being the epic title track. ‘Golgotha’ is the Hebrew word for skull and is the hill where Jesus Christ was crucified, it is a powerfully emotive ballad writhing in fist clenching emotion, with some stellar Doug Blair guitar work.
This record is full of grandiloquent power ballads, including the bombastic ‘Miss You’ which was originally penned for 1992’s “Crimson Idol”, it would make early 90s Guns n Roses proud. Consequently with an album brimming with emotion and powerful balladry it ends up sounding quite congested at times, suffering from bloating. This is a very sombre and serious affair, the sense of fun and the off colour humour of old has been replaced with religious and political undertones. The most political being the dramatic rock opera ‘Slaves of the New World Order’, which starts quiet but very quickly grows in volume and power.
A great W.A.S.P. record that is heaving with powerfully emotive ballads and is imbued with a sombre, more serious tone than it’s sonic cousins in the 80s.