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a.k.a. Blackie's "comeback kid" moment... - 89%

Metal_Grail, June 28th, 2009

Everyone knows there are two WASPs. One is the F.T.W. metal machine where everything sounds suspiciously similar with everyone too drunk to notice. The other WASP is the tell-it-like-it-is angry man of heavy metal platform for one Mr. Blackie Lawless. Truth be told things still sound suspiciously similar, but at least it’s metal with a cause.

‘Unholy Terror’ is the first studio album since ‘Helldorado’. And just in time too. Because about the only thing ‘Helldorado’ did manage to pull off was a practical joke Blackie must have been playing on himself. If the song titles don’t tell you what to expect, then take careful note of the AC/DC influenced riffing. I don’t care what you say about AC/DC, I’ve had more shivers up and down my spine brushing my teeth. As I write this they’re album sales have topped the hundreds and millions. That’s great.

“Let It Roar” and “Hate To Love Me” are self conscious to the point of caricature. It’s Blackie Lawless desperate to remind you that his name is Blackie Lawless. He’s asking you to think about those two words. Ok Blackie, I have – now what? The point is I don’t care what trademark attitude a band brings to the table. Just make sure the hooks are there to back it up. And this time they are. Enough said.

“Loco-Motive Man” is a classic. It’s smart. It’s deep. It’s catchy, and it matters. It paints a picture of youth gone wild in an age where wild means a gun – and a victim is anyone in range. Blackie rips up the scapegoat reports and social analysis and reduces it to human failings. This is a song that burns with anger and hope in the same breath.

“Unholy Terror” and “Charisma” are really two parts of the same song with the one common melody. You get a catalogue of evil through history set to a calculated tune that works like a swinging watch out to hypnotize you. The end final result is a symphonic portrait of the evil that men do. Blackie seems to be saying there’s no use looking away because it’s more of the same wherever you look. He’s right.

“Who Slayed Baby Jane?” is vintage WASP in the mood for horror theatrics. This one’s fake blood and bad special effects good. And it helps that it sounds like a sped up lullaby. Whereas (according to Blackie) it helps if you’re high when listening to the next track. It’s called “Euphoria” and he thinks the absolute world of it. It’s boring. “Raven Heart” is the exact opposite and damn well catches you off guard just when the album was starting to trail off. Gothic words and a hauntingly dark melody that blindly rushes in keep this one on the radar until further notice.

After that it’s two six minute plus songs that turn up, say something and go home. Not bad, just not great. One’s about reincarnation, and the other’s about getting wasted. Blackie’s an authority on both. I’ll take his word for it, but like I said – a guitar and a cause can change the world. That’s the address I prefer to visit Blackie at.