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W.A.S.P.'s self-titled debut was an amazing album, and featured some true classics of 80's heavy metal. But the follow-up, The Last Command, somehow manages to be even better!
The basis is pretty much the same- the classic heavy metal energy and power, complemented by raw vocals and heavy riffs at the forefront, and totally over the top lyrics. But this time around, the production and songwriting is less raw and heavy, which in turn gives some more variety in the songwriting and also lets the magnificent melodies stand out more than on the debut. This is apparent right from the melodic, ballad-ish (though it totally explodes during the chorus) opening track Wild Child, which is one of the albums definite highlights.
Once again, there is also great variation to be found in the songwriting while keeping the power and feeling on high. Ballcrusher, Sex Drive and Running Wild In The Streets are all pretty damn fast and pretty damn excellent, especially the later with it's anthemic chorus and awesome riffs.
Then there is some midpaced stuff like the melodic title track and the atmospheric, groovy Widowmaker. And another ballad is to be found on this album entitled Cries In The Night. It's no Sleeping In The Fire, but pretty damn good on it's own. Outstanding factors are great chorus and solo, but it totally works on all levels really.
This album is totally awesome all through, with just one exception, that being Jack Action. As already mentioned, the simplistic and catchy riffwork is pretty similar to Priest's You've Got Another Thing Comin', but somehow they don't manage to make it work. The vocal lines are also pretty average, and the song comes off as rather forgettable, at least when compared to songs like Wild Child. Which brings us to the large amount of highlights found here. As I've mentioned, Wild Child is one of the definite highs. So is Fistful of Diamonds, with one of their most dead-on choruses ever and some crazy soloing. Blind In Texas is the ultimate drinking song, and is insanely catchy. And finally, the second best W.A.S.P. song ever, second only to Hellion- The Last Command. The melodic verses, the anthemic, overwhelming chorus, the powerful lyrics... It captures the essence of heavy metal like nothing else.
The remastered version of the album also features a shitload of bonus tracks. Seven of them, to be precise. First off, we have an excellent cover of Mississippi Queen, followed by Savage, a wicked speed metal tune very much in the vein of Show No Mercy off the debut. The rest is all live stuff, and while the performances are all solid the mixing is very weak and the guitars are way too low. Still, pretty fun stuff.
The Last Command brings much more melody in the mix, and while the rawness is still there, it's not as much a key factor as it was on the debut. Which like I said makes room for more spectacular songwriting. Definitely the best of their 'party metal'-era, consisting of the first three. If you like the traditional kind of heavy metal, this is a must-have.