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A bit more serious - 94%

Nightcrawler, October 4th, 2003

The band's third album, Inside The Electric Circus was a bit on the weaker side, at least compared to the first two masterpieces. You could easily say that the fourth album was something of a make-or-break album for them. It's definitely a make.
The Headless Children, as already pointed out, (for the most part) steps away from their earlier sex, beer and heavy metal image, and take a more serious and thoughtful direction, while still rocking pretty damn well.
Most of the lyrics deal with nuclear war, drugs and other more serious subjects, and the songs are generally longer and songs like the opener The Heretic (The Lost Child) have a whole bunch of riffs, and several tempo changes that all work extremely well.

Needless to say, The Headless Children turned out to be yet another masterpiece for the band. Every song on here is totally awesome, with one exception: The cover of The Who's The Real Me. It's a pretty simple, straightforward rocker and while it's a very good song on it's own just looks very pathetic besides the grandeur of the other songs, and feels incredibly out of place. But that is the only exception. The rest is all W.A.S.P. at their very best.

Previously mentioned opening track, The Heretic, features some crazy soloing, a dead cool chorus and this really cool mid-section with an Maiden-ish melodic riff, and the song as a whole totally reigns.
The title track is one of the biggest highlights- the midpaced, hammering drum rhythms get highlighted during the verses. Kinda like L.O.V.E. Machine from the first, only better. What totally make this song stand out, however, is that awesome speed metal riff right before and after the solo. Quite possibly the best riff W.A.S.P. ever did.
Thunderhead is yet another classic, with the atmospheric intro, singalong chorus, the solos and whatnot. Awesome song. But the song seems pale in comparison to the one that follows it- Mean Motherfucking Man, the albums major highlight and the third best song the band ever did. This takes us back to the band's first three albums; straightforward, furious heavy fucking metal.
I've already forgotten about the title track- the main riff of this song is by far the best riff they ever did. It totally screams of attitude and power, and something as simple as a tone change towards the end of it manages to transcend it to even higher levels. And the rest of the song? Fast, punchy and to the point. Awesome riffs all through, crazy soloing, and one of the best choruses they ever did- Screaming heavy metal at it's finest.
The album's second half doesn't decrease the ownage. The Neutron Bomber contains more powerful riffwork and drum-driven verses that are made totally awesome thanks to that melodic touch on the vocal lines toward the end- and I also must point out that the drum-and-guitar intro sounds totally like Kiss - Love Gun.
Mephisto Waltz is a very nice, acoustic instrumental leading into Forever Free, which continues the W.A.S.P. tradition of great ballads. This one is a bit more sad and emotional than the previous, and is totally well done, and also features one of Blackie's best vocal performances ever. Maneater is more raging heavy metal in the vein of Mean Man, with screaming riffs, powerful vocal lines and of course Harley-worshipping lyrics. The album's second greatest song. And finally Rebel In The F.D.G., which is more classic heavy metal, with an killer atmosphere somewhat reminiscent of Wild Child.

The remaster also features quite a bunch of bonus tracks. Only two stand out as particularly interesting though. First off, the B-side War Cry, which is a totally awesome metal anthem. The second is the live version of Blind in Texas, where they get some random dude named Andy to sing the chorus, which is totally hilarious.

So W.A.S.P. decides to get more deep and serious on some points, yet still maintaining the sheer rockage of their first releases. The Headless Children is another indispensable heavy metal classic, and was their best work to that date. The Last Command comes really close, but this one takes the cake.