W.A.S.P. - The discography

W.A.S.P. - The discography


This is one of those musical realities to which I am most attached, both for their historical value and a little for the variety of the musical path. Starting in the 80s with a rock proposal with high levels of power and sexual charge, with a name still subject to debate and concerts with a notable scenic impact, ours have often changed their skin - and formation - giving us some pearls of inestimable value that they do not have. in my opinion, they collected what they deserved. Talking about bands, in this case, seems rather out of place, in fact, everything is in the hands of the singer/guitarist and ex-bassist Blackie Lawless, but by convention, I will refer to them as a band. So here is my very humble opinion on the recording career of W.A.S.P.
And so...

W.A.S.P. (1984)
Earthquake debut for power and quality. Rock shot at the maximum and with a high testosterone rate, from the manifesto of the intent of "I Wanna Be Somebody" to the anthemic "L.O.V.E. Machine", passing through the sensual ballad "Sleeping (in the fire)" and the violent "On Your Knees "and" Hellion ". It is really hard to find a moment of calm or decline in a truly sanguine disc. In the current reissue we find the single "Animal (F * ck Like a Beast)" as an opener ... not exactly dolce stil novo.

The formula does not change and also the quality is substantially unchanged, even if there are perhaps fewer classics. However, it is the album that contains two of the most loved songs of the band, I speak of the epic "Wild Child" and the light-hearted "Blind in Texas". As thrilling "Cries in the Night" as direct "Fistful of Diamonds" and "Ballbreaker". A real war machine.

Although there are some pale attempts to change, the band begins to lean too much on a sure result, without proposing particular flashes, and this is perhaps the reason why this is one of the least considered albums in the live venue. Anthemic the title track as wild as "Nasty", but the rest sounds damn ordinary. Two covers, the famous "Easy Livin '" by Uriah Heep and "I Don't Need (No Doctor)" by Ray Charles, the latter particularly successful.


Years pass and the band returns with a simply amazing album! The sound becomes more articulated and refined, as evidenced by more complex compositions such as "The Heretics" and the title track. Great moments "Thunderhead", "Neutrin Bomb", "Mean Man" and the poignant ballad "Forever Free" (my favorite of the group) ... amazing then the cover of "The Real Me" by the Who. In the reissue there is also "Locomotive Breath" by Jethro Tull, also successful. One of the group's artistic peaks.

Years pass, Blackie upsets the lineup (something that will often happen in the history of the band), thinks of a solo album and then releases it under the name W.A.S.P. ... and still everyone is wondering how he managed to create such a masterpiece, perfect from start to finish, a concept album worthy of being alongside so many rock classics. It is useless to try to indicate a trace compared to the others, this is one of those works that can easily be labeled as a miracle, to be enjoyed from start to finish!
P.S. an edition that has resonated and enriched with new tracks has recently been released, which is also highly recommended.

Any album released after "The Crimson Idol" would have disfigured and it is not surprising that this fate has befallen this record, born as an appendage to its bulky predecessor. And it's a real shame, because above there are some real bombs, from the title track to "Black Forever", from the wild "Rock'n'Roll to Death" to the splendid ballad "Breathe". A record absolutely to be re-evaluated and which, for a moment, seemed to decree the end of the W.A.S.P. Curiosity: among the tracks, there is the cover of "Somebody to Love" by Jefferson Airplane.

A shocking return for the band, with Chris Holmes back on guitar, albeit briefly. The proposal is in an electronic key, in a violent ocean vaguely inspired by "Apocalypse Now". Songs like the title track, "Killahead" and "Little Death" are real power bombs, "U" is very bad and "Kill Your Pretty Face" and "The Horror" are tinged with atmospheres bordering on doom. A different but damn successful album. The spectacular "Double Live Assassin" will be taken from the tour supporting this work, a must-have live testimony.


Blackie retraces his steps and publishes a work that refers to the first releases. Objective only partially achieved, because there are only a part of really successful songs: undoubtedly the title-track has a scary attack, "Damnation Angel" is wonderful and "Dirty Balls" and "Cocaine Cowboys" but overall it's an ordinary release.

In a sort of courses and appeals of history, this time the good Blackie returns to atmospheres closer to "Headless Children". We are far from the glories of the past, but all the work is more mature and convincing, with a good balance between the various souls of the history of the W.A.S.P .: earthquakes are "Let it Roar" and "You Hate to Love Me" how caustic the combination rhythmic "Unholy Terror / Charisma". Curious is the ballad "Evermore", which not too subtly recalls "Forever Free", without the same intensity but still pleasant.

After September 11, 2001, many people poured their sadness/anger/frustration into the music. Here Blackie decides to leave aside the monumental project he is working on (see a little further on) to vent his inner drama in music. Thus was born a particularly angry and suffering record, as evidenced by the violent opener "The Shadow Man" (which at first clearly recalls "God Of Thunder" by KISS) or "Hell For Eternity". Dramatic the short "Black Bone Torso" and "Trail Of Tears", the latter inspired by the forced marches that the Native Americans were forced to by the conquerors, and poignant the ballad "Hallowed Ground", proposed in two versions, one similar to electric and one acoustic. A record to be placed in his period in order to fully understand the conditions.


Continuing their journey back to the past, the W.A.S.P. return to the concept album, this time in two parts released individually. The first part, longer but also full of more or less useful interludes (we still talk about "Me and the Devil") is characterized by a series of particularly successful songs, with a good balance between rock, power and melody, and pieces like "Wishing well", "Sister Sadie", "Asylum # 9", "The Red Room of the Rising Sun" or the final "Raging Storm" (to name a few) they shine for inspiration and intensity. The second part unfortunately lives a lot in the shadow of the first and there are many passages that recover themes already present in the first part, resulting in more derivative and less inspired; there is no shortage of successful episodes like "Never Say Die" and "Come Back to Black", but the rest remains rather bland.
Personal curiosity: the supporting tour for the second part also passed through Florence and yours truly attended; what I heard was really beautiful and fun, to this day I am convinced that an hour and twenty of the concert was really too little.

Probably the most successful work of the W.A.S.P. for ten years, this album, moderated in the number of tracks and in the duration, returns to the mature metal of the best moments of the band, with a series of particularly successful pieces such as the opener "Mercy", the wonderful "Take me Up" and the more rocking "Burning Man" and "Deal With The Devil". The double version of the ballad is back, this time the beautiful "Heaven's Hung in Black", yet another confirmation of Mr. Lawless's talent in creating poignant songs without falling into rhetoric.

BABYLON (2009)
The road continues in the groove traced by the previous record, but this time the inspiration disappears, everything sounds damn already heard and devoid of bite. It would be enough to hear "Crazy" or the title track (my God, that refrain so similar to "Chainsaw Charlie's Morgue") to realize that you are in front of an album written on autopilot. And if the most successful pieces are the covers of "Burn" (Deep Purple) and "Promised Land" (Chuck Berry) some questions need to be asked.


I didn't hope/believe it anymore, I'm honest. After the previous release, not exactly exciting, it was difficult to imagine a return of quality by the good Blackie. And then the miracle happened (also thanks to the conversion?). Let's say that there are several steps forward and an encouraging return to the right path, as evidenced by the various "Scream", "Last Runaway" and the "Hero of the World" ride or the "Miss You" ballad (recovered from the unfinished pieces of "The Crimson Idol"). Signs of recovery that bode well, now we just have to wait and see what the future holds... even if to date there is no news of new publications on the horizon.

Thus ends this discussion, in the hope of celebrating together as soon as possible a new release of this great band!

Giovanni Gagliano

Passionate about music I wrote my first article for "Given To Rock" in 2012, reaching now 30K global followers. I am also a musician, gigging around London.

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