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40 Minutes of Enter Sandman - 89%

heavymetalbackwards, July 11th, 2009

You know the main riff to Enter Sandman? I hope you like it, because 5 of the 9 songs on this CD feature it.

This album satiates my desire for straightforward, uncomplicated metal music every time I hear it. Nobody overlooks the AC/DC influence on this release, as it is blatantly obvious. Though beware, as the repetition in the rhythm department is likely to grate on the nerves of most listeners; I kid you not when I say the aforementioned Metallica riff is prominently utilized in over half of the numbers on here. It may be increased or decreased in volume, sped up or slowed down in tempo, have an extra note added or subtracted, but it’s still there and it still repeats itself at least several dozen times before the track ends. The general idea for that riff is as old as dirt, and I am positive I’ve heard it before Enter Sandman, so I see no need for accusations of plagiarism, however.

Once you get past the simple music, it must then be accepted that the lyrics are intentionally crude; you can’t persuade me that the guy who wrote the words to ballads like “Forever Free” slipped up this badly. You don’t accidentally write lyrics about how nasty your testicles smell, or how cool it was watching a cheap whore fellate her pet dog, then look at them and say, “Oh dear, these lyrics have not come out as profoundly as I anticipated.” It’s arguably disingenuous how a smart man like Blackie dumbs himself down to make himself seem like a party-monster, especially when everyone knows he’s more of an intellectual, long given up drinking and promiscuity. I think what barely keeps this album honest is that Blackie did once live this lifestyle, and the release is intended to be a nostalgic trip down memory lane.

What good does this album have to offer? The answer is vocal hooks. This is catchy, 80’s inspired heavy metal. The difference is that it is rough, like what Motley Crue would sound like if they were forced to record in a garage. Actually, Blackie attempted to make this album sound similar to the old W.A.S.P. demos before the labels touched them up in the studios with clean production and harmonized vocals for the full-lengths. He succeeded in his endeavor, no question.

“Helldorado/Hot Rods to Hell,” “Don’t Cry (Just Suck)” “Dirty Balls,” “Can’t Die Tonight”: all of the preceding are great, commercial songs with noncommercial production and attitude. The lyrics aren’t very radio-friendly either, but they are relatively difficult to decipher compared to other W.A.S.P. records. Don’t expect a masterpiece because a handful of these tracks are above-average hard rockers that aren’t quite at the level of superb, but there isn’t a single outright failure on here.