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I Hate Carnies - 90%

OzzyApu, May 19th, 2011

Now I’ve heard a bunch of different sides to this album – Lawless says it’s a fucking atrocity to mankind, reviewers here on Metal Archives tend to disagree, and the cocksuckers at Capitol thought it was fairly decent. Going into this after hearing the colossus that was The Last Command, I was sure as hell going in knowing very well it was a step down. I wasn't correct, as this album kicks ass from start to finish. It's essentially a collection of insanely fun, straightforward tracks one after the other. This album truly has more in common with the debut than anything because it goes back to that raw, sleazy attitude. It manages to remain more professional, though, so don’t let Blackie in a cheetah outfit tell you otherwise.

Lawless himself picks up rhythm guitar duties herein, and while the previous album was loads more memorable, the playing here remains as stellar as ever – if not better. The riffs still are one in the same direction-wise from The Last Command, with a stronger approach towards more hard-hitting tracks. Choruses are heavier, vocals more hoarse, the drumming much louder; god damn they sound pissed. Hearing Lawless and Holmes dish it out reminds me of Jake E. Lee’s style on Ozzy Osbourne’s Bark At The Moon - he had guitar duties all to himself and needed to make an impression after Rhoads’ passing, so he went all out. Therefore, the riffs on Inside The Electric Circus orient themselves across a huge spectrum as to be sure the audience in the very back behind 10,000 others are going to hear it just as clearly as those front and center.

While the debut really had this problem with dull songs, it’s not too big of a deal here. There are definitely songs that don’t stand out, but there’s a standard that the consistency meets from first to last. Bass on all these go pretty unnoticed over the layering guitar attacks, but you’ll likely not pay too much attention to that. There’s still enough backing power in the riffs to do justice, so you’ll pay more attention to the riffs than anything else. If anything, I’ll blame the production on this because it focuses completely on the guitars and vocals while leaving out the bass and drums.

Surprisingly though, the drumming sounds damn good: double bass thumps deeply and heavily, toms have that catchy 80s echo, and the cymbals don’t crash like tin can lids. Solos adapt to which ever song they accompany – the title track has a very classy solo, “Restless Gypsy” wouldn’t be the same without it’s heartfelt solo, and “King Of Sodom And Gomorrah” is only a Middle Eastern inspired song because of its Middle Eastern inspired solo. It’s definitely the best option they had instead of putting all flamboyant solos for every track, which would just sound out of place.

Every time I leave this album alone for a bit, I keep forgetting why it kicks ass. Then I go back to it, hear just three random songs, and come back to my senses. It’s hard to believe that Lawless finds this crap compared to the debut and even The Crimson Idol. It’s the last W.A.S.P. album to continue the heavy metal / hard rocking / party tradition while still remaining a seminal piece of music. I won’t deny that W.A.S.P. has failed to deliver quality material, but it definitely didn’t start with this one.