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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.