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...unfinished business - 78%

krozza, October 14th, 2004

In my review of ‘The neon God: Part 1’ I made the statement that one should be prepared for a surprise with the forthcoming ‘Part 2’ installment. The fact that Blackie Lawless is notorious for exploring different musical styles had me thinking that, just maybe, Part 2 would throw a few curve balls our way. Alas, it isn’t so.

On reflection, it’s quite understandable. Remember folks, Part 2 was written and recorded at the same time as Part 1. This is the ending to the story that Blackie first unloaded on us some six months ago. Of course, it was meant to be released as a double album, but true to the conservative form of record companies, that just wasn’t viable. Hell, even Metallica, the biggest metal band on the planet couldn’t convince their label to make such a move for the Load albums. So, six months on from the excellent Part 1 disc, Sanctuary Records urges everyone who liked that one, to now fork out another $30 for the privilege of hearing Part 2. It’s a bit rich if you ask me, but hey, that’s the music biz folks. Even in Metal!

It’s actually a little difficult to review this album. This fact is compounded even further because it’s not really a new album. Sure, it’s a new release, but the content is just the unfinished business we didn’t get to hear six months ago. So in terms of theme, musical ideas, song structure and overall feel of this disc, it’s probably just as safe to go back and read my review for Part 1, because it’s basically a direct carbon copy.

Part 2 simply picks up musically where Part 1 left off. If you were expecting some surprises, then you will be sadly disappointed. Conversely, if you enjoyed Part 1 and it’s dark, reflective melancholic feel then Part 2 is its obvious continuation. Having said that, and as much as I do enjoy Part 2, the question begs to be asked – was there really ever enough ideas in Blackie’s tortured artist concept to allow 23 tracks to be written? There is possibly enough filler on both that could have been fleshed out to come up with a strong ‘one disc’ release - Just an observation that some would make no doubt. Then again, Blackie would say that each and every track is crucial to the next one in the whole conceptual story. If it ends up being 23 tracks, so be it - Double album, released six months apart. Deal with it.

Although there are few surprises on Part 2, Blackie has written some stellar material. I won’t say that anything on this rivals his classic material of yesteryear, but the more inventive moments like the monstrous 13-minute closer ‘The Last Redemption’ is worth the price alone. Other tracks such as ‘Come Back to Black’, Clockwork Mary’ and the haunting ballad ‘All My Life’ are also some of the stronger moments on this disc.

I’ve a feeling that Blackie might be glad to done and dusted with the ‘Neon God’ concept. It probably took him a year to write and then another year to see both discs released. If this is the case, I am expecting the man to pursue another direction on the next WASP disc - Perhaps its time for another ‘Helldorado’ or ‘self-titled debut’ shock rock! (if only!!)