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When I checked out the release date for this album, I was pretty much stunned. This was released in 2004? The music here sound's so much like 80's metal it's hard to believe! This album was my first W.A.S.P album. I have always tried to avoid W.A.S.P. as I thought they were hard rock/pop metal but after seeing Boris's reviews - I had to check them out and I first picked up this album and by my rating you can say I loved it, then I delved further into the band and now they easily make my top ten.
The concept is rugged and extremely stupid but at least it's a concept and a good try. The Crimson Idol had a better one. Blackie's voice is right at the centre here and a delight to hear. This guy is able to put in an unbelievable amount of emotion in his vocals and is right up there with metal's greatest vocalists. No offence to the rest of the band as they do great as well. The drumming's totally on the spot and the solos are great fun. The music here is 90's production, PURE 80's sound.
Every song on here is extremely catchy with great sing-along choruses. This album gives even a classic like The Crimson Idol a run for its money. Everything here right from the instrumental opener is brilliant and catchy as hell. It’s always a good idea to have an opening instrumental as it builds up the albums atmosphere and the listener's attention. It’s sort of a "Wow, those guitar's are great - wonder how the singer sounds" sensation. There are short interludes here such as Why Am I Here, Why Am I Nothing, Me the Devil and Someone to Love that are just here to co-ordinate with the concept.
All songs here are worth a listen. The best song on here is surely - Asylum 9 with its soaring chorus and Blackie's brilliant voice, that solo there is pure class - one of the best songs W.A.S.P. have ever made. Wishing Well is a short and extremely catchy number with good guitar harmonics. Sister Sadie is the longest song on the album and has a great chorus, Blackie's voice clearly shows its beauty here and some nice solos and riffs complement this very well. The Rise is just a short song that is probably just meant for the concept but is in no way an interlude. The Red Room of The Rising Sun has a great name and starts off really well and develops into a great, catchy number. What I'll Never Find is a short, extremely emotional ballad with great vocals by Blackie and an awesome solo with a very dark feel over it. X.T.C. Riders is a heavier, extremely 80's sounding number and The Running Man is catchy with some shredding solos. The closer The Raging Storm is very emotional with excellent guitar harmonics and great screams by Blackie with some well done softer parts meshed up with the heavy parts.
In conclusion, an awesome album that's very underrated and often pinned down as "A Crimson Idol Rip-off" but I think that isn't the case. The Crimson Idol was better and one of the best heavy metal records ever but this does hold up very well on its own and has its own fair share of excellent songs. Recommended to any heavy metal fan looking out for some great 80's metal and even pop metal/hard rock fans as this is catchy enough to supply their needs as well. You like Judas Priest? You'd love this, Do you like Bon Jovi? You may like this as well. Buy or download now!
If at no point while listening to "NG I" the words "secondary" and "derivative" cross your mind, you and I aren't listening to the same album. Let's start at the title. Can you imagine Iron Maiden naming their album "Murderers"? What about Judas Priest and "English Metal"? Or Metallica and "Lord Of Dolls"? Does anybody else think that, with the title like "Crimson Idol" in your catalog, naming your album "Neon God" is not a good idea? Why didn't Blackie just name it "Crimson Idol, Part II" and save us all a lot of irritation (and the title is just one of the multiple reasons for the "TCI" reference, as I am going to demonstrate)? On to the cover art: please, take a look at
This is just striking: we're not talking "similar," we're talking "cut-and-paste"!
On to the music: is it just me or their last albums, song after song after song, sound completely identical? Some are still better ("Unholy Terror"), some are worse ("DFTW"), but overall this is simply getting increasingly stale. Frankie Banali is an awesome drummer, but he is criminally underused here, and his patterns in "TCI," "UT," "DFTW," and "NG I" sound absolutely identical! This album is trying hard to be "The Crimson Idol," and Blackie turns inside out in his attempt to re-create the 1991 work that brought him enormous critical acclaim. So he writes a nearly identical story: abused kid, discovers a talent, rises to fame, abuses drugs, realizes his loneliness. And the songs themselves fit the bill, being nearly identical to those on the 1991 album. "Sister Sadie" is a rather poor stab at another "Chainsaw Charlie," an abundance of slow and "emotional" songs like "Why Am I Nothing" and "What I'll Never Find" match the plenty of slow and emotional songs on "TCI," like "The Idol," etc. There is also this sound, again, identical to the one on "TCI," as if all the technological improvements and production innovations of the 90s just didn't happen, but what sounded "epic" in 1991 feels rather pale now. So the result is quite expected: "Neon God, Part I" sounds totally derivative and forced. Yes, there are still some energetic numbers, like "Asylum #9" (which is similar in places to "Wicked Love" off of "KFD": listen to the "I give you life -- life!" part and compare to the "Wicked love! Wicked love!" chorus) and "X.T.C. Riders," but overall it's yet another step back in Blackie's rocky and uneven career. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad album, but the very premises is faulty for two reasons: one cannot enter the same water twice and, even if one does, it would not feel the same. Even had the original "TCI" been released now, it would not have made the same impact. Many current albums from current bands would simply outpower it, especially because "NG I" is seriously lacking might. Bands like Grave Digger, Angel Dust and Brainstorm all but blow W.A.S.P. out of the water with their sound and songwriting. Blackie, living in the States, is probably unfamiliar with the European metal scene, and does not know what can kick today's metal fan's ass.
One relatively fresh number on "NG I" is the concluding "Raging Storm": it's a rare (for WASP) mid-tempo churner, but its "Give me love!" chorus is, again, similar to "only love will set me free" from "The Great Misconceptions." Btw, I must mention pretty cool solos in "Riders" and "The Running Man": Darrell Roberts shines here. Overall, this is not a bad album, but if you are looking for something you haven't heard before from Blackie, seek elsewhere.
This album has more than pleased me. For years die hard WASP fans have been gagging for another slice of Rock Opera WASP. I mean, of course we love the songs about snorting cocaine and how good they can fuck. But we also loved The Crimson Idol.
Though the story is cliched and melodramatic, I think that is an aim of this album in a way. A piece of metal rock opera, with cliched religious references and a typical "blood, drugs and fucked up kids" storyline. But it makes intresting reading, and although many wont follow the albums story while listening, it's nice to sometimes have more to an album than songs about sex and drugs.
It starts off with the "Oveture", which is an instrumental gear up for the album ahead. Very clever. It's of course, melodramatic, and almost gets you excited for whats ahead. I like this alot. I hope they're playing it on the Tour.
The best songs on there would be:
"Asylum #9", a shockingly powerfull riffed up piece. Holding some classic WASP style catchy chrous, and screaching lyrics.
"Wishing Well", also keeping the whole catchy metal cheese rock element that all made us love WASP in the first place.
"What I'll Never Find", a fantastic classic rock ballad. This is "The Idol", only with more pain in it. I could leave this song on repeat. It's got all the formular for the perfect rock ballad, slow at first, then the guitars kick in after the first chorus, and the repeating of a tear provoking line towards the end. Only this song has meaning.
The downpoints to this album would be the cut corners on some of the sound. "Why Am I Here?" ends and then it sounds as if your CD is skipping when it goes into "Wishing Well". Also though catchy, the chrouses wont have you singing it for days. Theres no "L.O.V.E Machines or Wild Child" style stick in your heads. You wont be strolling down the road singing any of these songs because you cant get the out of your head.
If you like cliched metal, with melodrama, power riffs, pain and anger, with that cheesiness added in, you'll love this. Its a thinking album which you could give a good listen to, it's not background music. I call it thinking music! Blackies vocals are still awsome, he really puts his effort into the singing, it's like acting in a film for him. He's always been a fantastic song writer, and he's obviously a highly intelligent, talented and thoughtful musician. Blackie Lawless will not spend a few hours scribbling out some crap he thinks the fans will be happy with for a while, sing it, record it and throw it out onto the shelves. Cleverly press released and hyped up in the whole cult following WASP have, Blackie has obviously spent time on this masterpiece. Making it a 2 part album is also clever, making sure the next album will be eagerly awaited. And good news for all us WASP fans: this isn't the end!
For those of you as lucky as me to be seeing them on The Neon God Tour will know that WASP have still got "it". I've seen them once on this tour last month and have my tickets to see them again this month.I just find WASP more and more with ever adventurous step they take. Live was excellent, though they leave out the shock rock tactics that brought them their audiences years ago, they still had a good stage show, making sure they werent just out there, singing and coming off. They made sure you had something to go home and tell. Still belting it out as good as he did in the beggining, Blackie is a true dedicated musician. And its the same with this album, with WASP youll always have something to tell after listening to the latest album and of course, theres lots to tell with this one
Cliched and meloramatic? Yes
Will please most WASP fans old and new? Of course!
Blackie Lawless is once again making cheeseball music that only Blackie Lawless wants to hear..
If this concept and story were put to a movie, it would be laughed at as cliche ridden and without merit. Since it's a concept album, it's bound to be called "brilliant". Sadly, neither is the case as the terrible concept is almost bolstered by a few fist-banging songs provided by the W.A.S.P. machine. Keeping this in mind, I will give Blackie some credit for attempting to produce a well crafted mix of heft and hook that almost remind us of what a good band W.A.S.P. once was.
Sadly, the goofy concept, the mind-boggling ballads and the overall pretensious feel of the record make this a passable, yet laughable rockstar effort from a band that has been sludging on well past their prime. Good, but not great, interesting at times, but mostly silly and incoherant.
This is a record for those of you have think that the bloated "Operation Suckcrime" style storylines have any place in metal. The names of the characters, the pomp and bombast and the overall feel only work when I am int he dumbest of moods...thankfully...after a long day of work I sometimes forget that I have a brain and this record delivers...or not.
If you're a W.A.S.P. fanatic buy it...if not...get the debut and forget that this was ever slogged out to the public as a W.A.S.P. (aka Blackie Lawless solo) project.
I was expecting a whole lot out of this album, which is where I went wrong.
"The Neon God: Part 1" is almost directly a copy of "The Crimson Idol". The story is a bit tweaked in places (instead of being a rock 'n roll messiah, the kid becomes a literal messiah to junkies...big deal. I could do just the same thing by waving tinfoil in front of them.), but it's almost the same.
First comes the instrumental overtures, then the song in which the narrator bitches about how bad his life is...followed by a few more of those. Lyrics start to be reused from Crimson Idol, such as the "love is all I need" bit.
The music follows the same cut out pattern, too...either the typical sounding acoustic guitar ballad, or louder, faster more rockin' songs. But it's just that...they don't sound much different from one another.
There was only one song on this album that really caught my attention, and it was "Red Room of the Rising Sun". It sounds completely different from all the other songs in every way - musically, lyrically and otherwise.
Otherwise, "The Neon God" is completely forgettable. Even speaking as a devoted W.A.S.P. geek, I'm really not impressed. Don't waste your time or money.
Blackie's still got "IT". Abraham "and then they changed what 'it' was" Simpson, guess what, you've got a friend. While bands like Nevermore come along and shit on the metal scene from great heights, here's a band that still sounds completely like heavy FUCKING metal should sound, and manage to be creative about it. This album isn't quiiite as good as any of the first five WASP, but that pretty much just means that the first five WASP are ridiculously triumphant... here, they try to create another Crimson Idol, and for all intents and purposes succeed. It's just that the first Crimson Idol was so everlovingly brilliant that you'll never get another one of those, ever.
But hey, we've got this. And this will do just fine, thank you very much. WASP still fucking rules, after all these years... Blackie Lawless still screams it like he means it - technically less than perfect, but the ability to convey emotion is second to none (Opeth, stick THAT in your pipe), and of course you've got the classy songwriting and the triumphant riffs that only this band can do, and only this band has done, from the era of Fuck like a Beast, to more civilised stuff like Thunderhead... here, we've got stuff like Sister Sadie, which is pretty much THE second coming of Chainsaw Charlie, from the galloping riffs to the squealing solo (well, that's the second coming of Love Gun, but that's incidental!), to the singalong vocals - not QUITE as over-the-top as "murders, murders in the new morgue" (wait for "number niiiiiine!!" for that effect) but still, close enough. You'll have this one blasted to maximal killing capacity within a few minutes.
The rest of the album is no slouch either... the aforementioned Asylum #9, probably the highlight of the entire album, half Headless Children, half On Your Knees, and all BALLS. That's right, this is the 80s band that refuses to die... I'm sorry, but this album is such a complete stab into the eyeballs and vaginal surfaces of all the bands that think they've got "it", but have either sold "it" at a grunge-baked shot at a major record label after the first half of the Sanctuary LP, or just, despite MTV and other popular opinion, never had "it" to begin with. Sorry, but this band couldn't give half a horseflying gangfuck of monkeys whose brains Kurt Cobain is blowing out this week, and the assorted noises that come with it. All the bands in all the world should learn from this - how to sing about serious subject matter without coming across as a serious fucking pussy.
Oh well never mind THIS, you fucking cuntbag. Would you like fries with that?
YEAAAAHHH, I said number niiiiiiine!!! (The chorus comes back once more during The Running Man, softly behind the main vocals... number nine, number nine!)
At times, the album reaaally resembles Still not Black Enough - the title track, to be more exact... the Running Man has a similar chorus. But hey, they're good ideas, feel free to reuse them. It's not quite as overt as Still not Black Enough reusing half the riffs of the Crimson Idol...
Speaking of the Crimson Idol, the final song sounds like "The Idol" a bit, and check out the main guitar line of the first few seconds of "What I'll Never Find", which sounds just a little like "Hold on to my Heart" - but hey, that's not a bad thing at all, and in fact it's yet another killer ballad by Wacky Blackie, probably the only guy that could put two ballads in a row on an LP and come up with a masterpiece. Jeebus christ, that solo ruuuuuules. The endless solo to end all other endless solos. The other highlight of the album here - though really the whole thing has to be taken as a whole; this isn't meant to be sliced into little pieces and put on mix tapes or whatnot. You will go out and buy this entire CD, in entirety, and listen to it, in entirety... well, that's what I'll do anyway (I must confess I only have the mp3s as of now), and hey, if anyone at this date still thinks mp3 are a bad idea - how about that, Overkill and another sale, so we don't care what you say, fuck you!! Lars, you can go and ass-rape the dude in Machine Head or something. He'll like it.
Oh yeah, one more thing. XTC Riders... which Billy Idol song does this sound like, this has been bugging me for the last few days, and I can't figure it out. The vocal line of the verses... I think it's Billy Idol, anyway. In any case, again, check out that monster riffage, and the over-the-top vocals. The neon god is in your miiiiiindd!!! Remind me to figure out what the story line is, when I buy the album. If previous WASP albums are any indication, it'll be well explained.
So, should you get this one? ARE YOU MORBID? FUCK YES YOU ARE. And yes, you'll be getting this one. Unless you're a Dimmu Borgir fan or something, in which case, buy more lube. Another masterpiece from your friendly neighbourhood Sexual Perverts. Blackie Lawless fucking rules.
Well, fuckin well...flat out, this album rules. It has been a while since I have heard WASP crank out some tunes to this degree of coolness, and let it not be said that this album is with out a doubt a return to roots in many ways (and yet still has many other parts that are refreshingly new). I'd say that this, overall, has a pure feel, in that its totally untainted by any type of commercialism , and any die hard WASP fan should kill to own a copy. It mixs early stuff like The Last Command and Inside The Electric Circus with later material like Still Not Black Enough and Helldorado and creates a great and entertaining listen. All must sit in awe at how much Blackie Lawless owns them. Another interesting aspect is that Blackies voice is in perfect form, and makes you wanna go pound some nu metal posers with the sheer intensity derived from his greatness. This man is a legend in his own right.
There are many killer parts on this album, like the 3rd song (Wishing Well) that are respectively newer WASP tunes (which is great in my opinion), and this song imparticular has a few riffs that remind me of the song "Chainsaw Charlie" in some ways. But there are also parts like on the following song "Sister Sadie" which has a very traditional WASP sound, and an entertaining "Fucked For Life" rant esque chorus type part, followed later by some great vocal pattern work done in layers, or multi tracking (best description) that capture a great feeling . Great riffs push the envelope of originality on this track, and easily keep you head banging through out the whole of it.
-"Welcome to my world
To my kingdom of make believe
I’m your new Messiah
You’ll worship at my feet"-
With lines like that I really hear some strong influences Blackie is finally letting out. I have read a few times that Blackie was a huge WHO (60's through late 70's English rock band for those who live in caves) fan, and I can totally hear that in alot of areas on this album. For instance the bass sound, and overall alot of the runs that are played are very similiar to that which the late great John Entwistle played (who was one of the best bassist in Rock ever IMO). If you go and listen to Quadrophenia (a WHO classic) and pay close attention to the bass you'll hear it. The lyrics really remind of Pete Townsend's work also, but is written in a way that would be possibly foriegn in direct comparison, but fans of both can see plainly. The guitar work captures its own sound, so I really couldnt ask for any more here. The lay-out of the tracks, or arrangement, is yet another fact that substantiates my claim, cause it reminds me alot of the lay-out of Tommy's tracks (short interludes, mixed in with songs that carry the story through out the album in clear and direct format). Another reason I am reminded of Tommy is the Messiah talk in the lyrics, and any one familiar with that story may see some evidence of dierct influence. I am certainly not saying on second of this album is a direct rip off, but just a strongly influence record.
There is a part in Asylum # 9, the 7th track, right before the guitars come in that really gets a different sound then would be typical, or even ever, used by these guys. And actually this song really gets a very different feeling, or sound, expressed that show you how these guys still can write totally original cuts (give it 10 years and it'll be yet another WASP classic, its not Sleeping In The Fire, but come on what is?). There are some great solos in this song also, that scream to me I was a Rock star in 1987, or an 80's feel that you will not hear from many (any) other bands at all. Rock owes this band something. Also the intro to Red Room Of The Rising Sun has a very 80's sound, in that the tone and riff are very reminiscent of the music of that time.
What I'll Never Find starts out slow with Blackie singing, in and almost Still Not Black Enough kinda style but with less pop cheese IMO, and there is some great vocal harmonies that can fucking melt an iceberg in sheer depth of heart, and let me repeat myself by saying Blackie can still sing as good as ever. More of a balladish type song, in that it is very powerfull and meant to make you feel what they are playing, you can just sit back and enjoy what talented, true musicians crank out for you. This song also has some awesome shreding that is possibly the best solo on here, and interesting to hear how it builds cause its played over a slower beat and rythm held up by the rest of the band.
Me And The Devil which is a 50 second (the 4th and final interlude) acoustic melody with Blackie singing over it that suddenly breaks into some killer crashing accents when The Running Man opens (done by guitar and drums) and finally goes into the bands signature sound with power that has been untapped for many years (I say that meaning that it really is an awesome tune, and sure to be yet another WASP classic). Here imparticular the bass really shines in parts, and reflects the aformentioned influences I pointed out.
All in all this album covers many sounds that the band has to offer, in a perfectly arranged fashion, that makes me anxious to hear what Pt 2 will be like, cause if its even a mere shadow to this it will be another prime cut of killer Rock 'n' fuckin Roll. After one listen you will know why what I mean. Always a highlight, but exspecially on this Blackies voice just kills, and theres also a part in the closing song, near the end, that his voice kinda takes on a King Diamond esque tone that could cut glass when he just kinda harmonizes with the music in a repeated tone. I really havent followed the story to much so I cant comment on that asspect, but the lyrics alone are very thought provoking, and highly entertaining. Rock owes Blackie lawless.