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Heavy metal can only get so heavy. After a certain point, there is nowhere to go but to incorporate influences from outside genres like hardcore punk in order to make things sound more intense. W.A.S.P. pushes the border on “Unholy Terror” of how heavy heavy metal really can be. The power manifested within is driven by vicious melodies, and thundering thick guitar chords.
I’ve listened to the opener song “Let it Roar” numerous times, and on each occasion I was passionately swept off my boots by the unrelenting assault. Muscles in my legs have quivered and collapsed, involuntary laughter not from humor but from sheer ecstasy have spouted from mouth, and my entire nervous system has convulsed and pulsated throughout my flesh. The lyrics describe the same feeling that they give: “You’re gonna feel like Superman!” I do, except no pathetic kryptonite can stand in my way.
The album is the most extreme disc in W.A.S.P.’s catalogue, and the following two songs follow in the opener’s footsteps. “Unholy Terror”/”Charisma” is one song divided into two tracks with a profound lyrical theme: Human beings are naturally inclined toward figures who are charismatic rather than those who truly have to offer what is best. It might not be perfect poetry, but it does make you think.
Another highlight is the ballad “Evermore,” which is a cryptic sequel to the masterpiece from The Headless Children called “Forever Free.” As usual, the original is superior to the sequel but this song does justice to the first. The lyrics are very esoteric and difficult to decipher the theme of, and so I know that the tears in the back of my eye are from pure musical genius, not simply a pretty poem.
There are only a few flaws present here that are generally minor. Blackie’s riff on “Raven Heart” is a bit of a rip-off of Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out.” It’s changed a little, but not enough for me to not be critical of it. Possible plagiarism (or perhaps a friendly artistic allusion, I hope) aside, it is an excellently constructed heavy metal song that makes you throw trembling horns. I’m also not the hugest fan in the world of that little instrumental in the second half of the album, which is not a distraction but rather an unnecessary break from the adrenaline rush.
Just when you think this album was ending, you get a multi-minute-long exiting guitar solo to finish off the closer, “Wasted white Boys.” Mean Man Holmes is back!
Get this CD if you want to hear the sound of lightning. Blackie might have had some softer, gentler tones to his voice in prior albums that were more relaxing to hear, but this was never mean to be a relaxing album. Hear him scream.