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While W.A.S.P.'s debut and "The Headless Children" may be the favorite albums of fans and critics, it is this second effort that remains one of the their most commercially successful to date. It was also their first album to feature drummer Steve Riley as well as the last to feature guitarist Randy Piper until the new millennium.
As others have pointed out, this album's musical style isn't too far off from the debut though there have been a few changes brought in since then. The production isn't quite as raw as before and there are a number of style innovations brought in on songs like "Widowmaker" and "Cries In The Night." Of course, I have no idea why people think "Wild Child" has ballad influences. It may be a melodic track but it completely lacks the somber or "soft" touches that are common in songs of that nature. Maybe it's just me...
Whatever the case, there are several different styles represented on here in addition to the slower tracks ("Widowmaker," "Cries In The Night"). You've got your upbeat rockers ("Wild Child," "Ballcrusher," "The Last Command," "Running Wild In The Streets"), borderline speed metal numbers ("Fistful Of Diamonds," "Blind In Texas," "Sex Drive"), and a chugging track in the vein of "You've Got Another Thing Coming" by Judas Priest ("Jack Action"). "Wild Child" is an obvious classic though just about every track manages to be fun and enjoyable.
The band's performance is also pretty solid though it is clear that vocalist/bassist Blackie Lawless is running the show here. His raspy vocals are what truly stand out with the band itself focusing more so on delivering the hooks than a technically flashy performance. There are times where I wish the guitars were a little higher in the mix but I think that has to be do with the production more so than any truly bad performances.
The lyrics, arguably the most infamous aspect of W.A.S.P.'s career in addition to the stage shows, haven't really changed too much since the debut. Mostly focusing on sex, drugs and violence (You thought I was going to say rock 'n roll, didn't you?), the lyrics are mostly mindless fun that will go over the heads of the easily offended. "Ballcrusher" immediately comes to mind with its particularly raunchy lines ("Lesbo nymphomaniac, ooh, she's got a girlfriend that's seventeen"). Not exactly gangsta rap but something like it...
All in all, this is a pretty strong album that does a good job of disassociating the band from the dreaded hair metal scene. Definitely a great album for parties, driving with the windows rolled down, and whatever else it is that crazy people do these days.
My Current Favorites:
"Wild Child," "Widowmaker," "Blind In Texas," "Cries In The Night," and "Running Wild In The Streets"