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So this here, really, ranks right up there in the best debut albums in metal. Up there with the debuts by Metallica, Slayer, Savatage, Iron Maiden, and yes, even Exodus. In fact this is more less what one would have found in Metallica (circa "Kill 'Em All") had they worshipped Alice Cooper and KISS alongside their Sabbath, Priest and NWOBHM influences. Yes ladies and gentlemen, this is gruesome, grotesque, and ultimately, fun Heavy Metal theatrics with no lack of balls.
Now before we try and look into this intellectually, we have to remember that W.A.S.P. has never tried to be a "smart" band. W.A.S.P. is just about the juvenile, testosterone fuelled anger of the 13-18 age group of the time. But what W.A.S.P. does, it does VERY well. Blackie Lawless is a Masterful writer of lyrics and representative of the alienated teenaged misfit in all true metalheads. I'm not gonna bother with track by track analysis, I'll just focus on the best and the worst
The album opens in almost speed metal fashion with "I Wanna Be Somebody". Definitely a great way to open and album, even if it follows the cliche of "fast song first" that seems to run through alot of metal albums. A great lyrical representation of every teenager's yearning to get out. Pure Metal!
The next is again the cliche of "Second song has the lots of groove" but that doesn't detract from "L.O.V.E. Machine" in the least. This is quite possibly where Blackie's vocals shine through the most on the whole album, making his technique seem so powerful and so effortless all at once.
"B.A.D." could have very easily been a ballad, but instead is one of the strongest tracks on the album. Heartbreaking lyrics but songcraft that is pissed off and dark, almost like Priest was around this time (Defenders of the Faith). Blackie's voice really showing a tortured side and the song containing one of Chris Holme's best solos on the album.
"Hellion" is to my mind the fastest mother on the album but still doesn't fall short of being a hulking BEHEMOTH of riffs! The lyrics are kind of abstract but sort of sound like something you'd find on a Venom album (perhaps slightly less demonic). This is an absolute classic! BANG THY HEAD!
Really there is a bad song on this album. Not even a song that’s less than very good (save perhaps for “The Flame” which is still good). This is in no small part due to the sizzling production job on the thing. Everything is audible and everything is razor-sharp.
So at the end of the day, the album reminds us that A) not everything from L.A. sucked and B) W.A.S.P. were the biggest, raunchiest, baddest band of misfits and miscreants on the block. Hail Blackie Lawless!