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W.A.S.P. – The Neon God: Part 1 – The Rise & The Neon God: Part 2 – The Demise

Label: Sanctuary Records
Format: CD
Released: 2004
Reviewed By: Rich Catino

Neon God: Part 2

First thing that hits me is the better production for Part 2, especially in the guitar sound.   The disc has direct continuity to the first part but is a heavier effort.  Part 1 suffered from a thin production, those guitars were not really strong at all. 

“Never Say Die” starts off on the right foot with a thick riff and reminds me of  Wasp’s better days during the first two albums and “Headless Children”, where each song stood out because of creative writing for the guitars.  Also, this time around are far less Pete Townsend moments an element that was overdone for Part 1.   I know Blackie sites The Who as a big influence and it is very evident when he composes this type of work for Wasp, but arrangements do become repetitive at times (like what happened with Helldorado).   Still full of fire and energy Blackie does not appear to be out of ideas, especially is his choice of lyrics.  

As usual Blackie works his magic when its time for the tragic ballad, here semi ballad in “Clockwork Mary” with acoustic guitars and accompanyment by a keyboard it’s very reminiscent of “The Crimson Idol”.    

I really love when Blackie works on something of this scale, I mean “The Crimson Idol” is flawless, but for “The Neon God” story I do find the choice for some of the guitars and arrangements redundant.   This is not the first time because it’s a problem that has plagued many of the songs in the Wasp catalog since the mid 90’s.  There are plenty of standout tracks on those albums but they also have their downside. 


Neon God: Part 2

Blackie Lawless returns to his conceptual writing style for Part One of the two part story of Jesse, the Neon God.  It’s a very deep story to say the least, like the masterpiece “The Crimson Idol”, “Neon God” is approached in the same manner right down to even the albums sound.   This has more in common with of course “Crimson” and “Headless Children” instead of the self titled album or “Helldorado”, even the industrialized “Kill Fuck Die”.  

For those unfamiliar with this side of Blackie, you are not getting the tongue and cheek lyrics of songs like “Blind in Texas” or say “Shoot From The Hip”, even the theatrical gem “The Torture Never Stops”.  

To start the music is more complex, backed by a distinctive keyboard sound.  Guitar riffs are relevant but not the focus of what is to be heard.  Instead, each song is part of a whole story line strewn together by segments of acoustic guitar interludes, presented as a continuous listening experience.   Some of his best work is heard on those interludes like “Why Am I Nothing”, where it’s just Blackie and an acoustic guitar. 

As far as his voice, Blackie probably is at his most tragic here, throughout there is much emotion felt, aggression, sorrow, and despair.   I don’t think I have heard a Wasp album that has had this much tragedy felt through its music which is prevalent more so on the mellow parts.  He sounds great and his intensions are conveyed nicely. 

The entity that is Wasp has again created another body of work that is well thought out, adding to a history of music that does not repeat itself, evolving, always maintaining its good name. 

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