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W.A.S.P. – Babylon

Label: Global Mu
Format: CD
Released: 2009
Reviewed By: Rich Catino
Rating: 7/10


I am a long time Wasp fan, since 1984. The self titled debut and especially "“The Crimson Idol" are crowning moments for Blackie Lawless (frontman/vocals/guitars) and two albums that have made indelible marks on me as an artist and person. They touched my imagination and heart. Seeing the videos on MTV for ‘I Wanna Be Somebody’, ‘Love Machine’, ‘Wild Child’, and ‘Blind In Texas’ at the age of 13 surely made their imprint. "The Last Command", "Headless Children", and "Dying For The World" (2002) albums are also strong statements in the band’s history and should be recognized as well. But I gotta tell ya aside from the very dark and industrialized “Kill Fuck Die” album from 1997, since "Still Not Black Enough" in 1995, "Helldorado" (1999), 2001’s "Unholy Terror", "The Neon God – Pts. 1&2" in 2004, and "Dominator" from 2007, I’m sad to say 70% of the riffs and arrangements on each album are rather recycled and not terribly creative. Its Blackie’s talent for writing thought-provoking lyrics that makes W.A.S.P. to this day an important artistic force. Really, it aches me to say it about the music, but it's true.

 

With "Babylon", Blackie challenges the listener to open their minds and see what is happening to the world, and think about what the future will be if we continue to live as we do. And I quote from the album’s liner notes, "You all know I’d said repeatedly that any art, be it movies, painting or music should reflect its maker’s vision of themselves and the world around them at that précised moment of their lives. If they are indeed truthful with that art it then gives the viewer or listener a pretty good snapshot inside the head and the heart of the one creating it".

‘Crazy’ and ‘Live To Die Another Day’ (which when it gets goin has a similar flow to ‘Chainsaw Charlie’) kick off "Babylon" rockin with a familiar W.A.S.P. upbeat punchy beat. Opening riff to ‘Babylon’s Burning’ brought me back to "The Last Command’s" vibe which was a nice treat. W.A.S.P. have always recorded cover songs releasing them on studio albums from time to time but in this instance when there are only nine songs, why do two? Deep Purple’s ‘Burn’ is explosive and spot on but Chuck Berry’s ‘Promised Land’ could have been a B side.

‘Into The Fire’ is an average ballad for W.A.S.P., not nearly as powerful as ‘The Idol’ or ‘Hallowed Ground’. ‘Godless Run’ is the better of the two. And addressing my gripe with the lack of variety in the riffs and arrangements in the past ten years, ‘Seas of Fire’ does break the mold a bit.

In comparison to the above mentioned post 1995 albums (all do have their good songs), "Babylon" is a solid mixture of them all.

After reviewing "Babylon" I revisited older W.A.S.P. and songs like ‘The Torture Never Stops’, ‘Restless Gypsy’, ‘The Last Command’ (man what an excellent melody line), ‘Maneater’, ‘Headless Children’, and ‘Arena of Pleasure’. You know what I heard?...I can tell ya this I didn’t feel like I was hearing the same arrangement and/or delivery over and over. Maybe its time for Blackie to rediscover his music and get those creative juices flowing again. Nothing but respect!

 
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