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Saw Blade Codpiece Gutsfuck - 77%

OzzyApu, June 15th, 2009

What W.A.S.P. has going for them here is a solid debut that falls short of being a genuine listen due to it’s replayability. Most metal artists attempt to distance themselves from the basic song structure and hope to define themselves in another way, but W.A.S.P. excel so well at this simple structure with catchy choruses, thrilling leadwork, and thriving energy. Somehow this formula never dies down – like an everlasting flame or an everflowing stream. You never get tired of hearing songs about sex, partying, and 1980s culture from W.A.S.P.’s perspective. Overall, the album is enjoyable, but not entirely memorable or standout such as subsequent classics. Tracks reign from staples to just decent songs, but I’m not sure if it’s the production or lack of generally focused songwriting that help out the songs. For instance, “School Daze” and “B.A.D.” are both songs worthy of staying on this album with workable choruses, but there’s nothing interesting about them besides filling in the album. I’m not criticizing W.A.S.P. of failing to make every song a classic like “I Wanna Be Somebody” or help stir controversy like “Animal (Fuck Like A Beast),” but the songs don’t hit me with either the lead or the raunchy vocals.

Not only that, but most of the songs blend in together to make a very one-dimensional face, which was typical of the glam metal scene and it’s mostly straightforward clique of bands. Lawless doesn’t have as much emotion poured into every track like he would on The Last Command and The Crimson Idol, thus making this album feel less compelling than the rest. Of all the tracks, the only one that taps into my heart would be “Sleeping (In The Fire)” with it’s expressive writing, mournful vocals, and lustful composition. It’s the only song on the album I’d call a “ballad” or sorts, but it’s that kind of songwriting that’s missing from the formula – again these elements would be fixed easily on subsequent albums.

The band themselves play their instruments well enough for the music they need to play, and production aids in the process for the time being. I’m sure it isn’t my copy alone, but the whole album feels a little airy, with bass struggling to be heard through the fog and the group sounding almost like they’re performing at a concert. It doesn’t have abysmal concert qualities, but you feel as though the band sounds distant. While I can’t hear the bass that well, Lawless’ vocals are all but unheard. This man has some of the most unique vocals I’ve ever heard – they’re fresh, angry, coarse, but at the same time emotional. He doesn’t sing like you’re average Dickinson or Tate clone – nay, he has his own heavy metal grunt cut out for him, and the music really couldn’t compliment him any better. It’s with these vocals that the music sounds more vigorous and engaging than most heavy metal, so you’ll feel active and alive every time you hear them.

It’s hard to comment on anything the drums can’t do, since it’s pretty much just consistent rhythm drumming with that distinct 80s thumping and thudding. They’re quickly overshadowed by the alluring and hard rocking leadwork that really propels this group into the arena. Riffs are hard-pressed, aggressive, melodic, and have more sensation vibrating off them that when the solos hit, it’ll be like taking a sweet sip of mango juice – like I’m doing right now… mmmmmmm… Go check out the other reviews if you want a breakdown of the songs themselves or recommendations. I know everyone talks about “L.O.V.E. Machine” and yes it’s also one of my favorites since it’s got such a glittering verse / chorus trade-off, but there are others to look into. Its an enjoyable album outright, but not as stunning as later albums. How stunning and what later albums, you say?

Scroll all the way down this page, click W.A.S.P.’s page, and then scroll down until you see The Last Command - Click that shit!