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W.A.S.P. – Still Not Black Enough

W.A.S.P. – Still Not Black Enough [Remastered] (2001, Metal-Is Records)
Original Release: 1995, Raw Power

1. “Still Not Black Enough” … 4:02
2. “Somebody to Love” … 2:50
3. “Black Forever” … 3:17
4. “Scared To Death” … 5:02
5. “Goodbye America” … 4:46
6. “Keep Holding On” … 4:04
7. “Rock And Roll To Death” … 3:44
8. “Breathe” … 3:44
9. “I Can’t” … 3:07
10. “No Way Out Of Here” … 3:39

Blackie Lawless – Vocals, Bass, Guitar, Keyboards, Sitar
Bob Kulick – Guitar
Frankie Banali – Drums

Additional Musicians:
Mark Joesphson – Violin
Stet Howland – Percussion
Tracey Whitney – Backing Vocals
K.C. Calloway – Backing Vocals

Producer: Blackie Lawless

Being a mid-90s W.A.S.P. album, I wasn’t expecting much from Still Not Black Enough, which really isn’t fair because Blackie came come up with at least a few decent tunes every album. The album was originally intended to be a solo album for Blackie but he later decided to put the W.A.S.P. name on it (for purely financial reasons, I’m sure).

Regardless of the name on the cover, it’s always going to have a hard time NOT sounding like W.A.S.P. because Blackie IS W.A.S.P. It really doesn’t matter who is backing him up, it’s Blackie’s band and he’s the sole creative driving force so solo or not, there’s a certain sound any of his albums are gonna have. I’ve always found this especially true when it comes to the drumming.

There’s a couple of songs that are most definitely W.A.S.P.y — “Still Not Black Enough”, “Black Forever” and “No Way Out of Here”, and the cover of Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love” are obvious W.A.S.P. rockers but there’s some nice variety to this album as well. “Keep Holding On” and “Breath” are tender ballads you definitely wouldn’t expect from any album labeled as W.A.S.P., but they are cool tunes and show Blackie trying a different style of vocals and I love the lyrics on “Keep Holding On”. “Rock And Roll To Death” has a ’50s rock ‘n’ roll much in the same vein as “Johnny B. Good”. “I Can’t” is a good mid-tempo bluesy number that turns into typical W.A.S.P. when Blackie starts dropping f-bombs.

Overall, this is a very good disc that features Blackie spreading his leathery wings once again while still throwing in enough typical enough sounding W.A.S.P. tunes to keep the faithful interested. After hearing this album, I’m convinced more than ever that Blackie is one of the more underrated artists in the metal realm.

What ticks me off about this album is I ordered it online and discovered it was the 2001 reissue, I saw that the original U.S. release features covers of Queen’s “Tie Your Mother Down” and AC/DC’s “Whole Lotta Rosie” as well two other Blackie originals! That sucks they didn’t make the reissue. Oh well, that’s why they invented YouTube…

Highlights: “Still Not Black Enough”, “Scared To Death”, “Keep Holding On”, “Rock And Roll To Death”, “I Can’t”, “No Way Out of Here”

W.A.S.P. – The Sting/Helldorado

W.A.S.P. – The Sting/Helldorado (2005, Snapper Music)

I LOVE when albums get compiled like this. Why spend $10-15 a piece when I can get them together for $10? I think the Snapper label mostly does reissues but they do them well, at least where W.A.S.P. is concerned. Cool digipaks full of photos and information. If you’re ever in need of a W.A.S.P. album, you should check to see if Snapper has reissued it because they’ve done so for many of them.

By the way, I probably care more about band logos and album covers than most people so I feel like I should mention the W.A.S.P. logo SUCKED for these two albums. It looks like something some kid would sketch out on his notebook during school. The Sting cover art is pretty awful as well.

Disc 1: The Sting: Live at the Key Club (2000, Snapper Music)

1. “Helldorado” … 3:20
2. “Inside the Electric Circus” … 1:45
3. “Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue)” … 5:47
4. “Wild Child” … 6:51
5. “L.O.V.E. Machine” … 6:15
6. “Animal (Fuck Like a Beast)” … 5:16
7. “Sleeping (In the Fire)” … 6:24
8. “Damnation Angels” … 5:59
9. “Dirty Balls” … 5:05
10. “The Real Me” … 4:02
11. “I Wanna Be Somebody” … 8:23
12. “Blind In Texas” … 6:57

Blackie Lawless – Vocals, Guitar
Chris Holmes – Guitar
Mike Duda – Bass
Stet Howland – Drums

Recorded April 22, 2000. Didn’t really care about getting this album, I just wanted Helldorado and figured I might as well get two albums for $10 instead of one album for $10. The show was streamed live online. Not sure if it was free or not to do so but according to the liner notes for this collection (which are actually quite hilarious) 10,000 people streamed it and 100,000 people tried to stream it but were not able to do so. Somehow, I think both of those numbers are inflated and how would they even know who wasn’t able to listen to? You might as well say the other six billion people in the world tried to stream it but only that lucky 10,000 were able to do so.

I’ve seen this show being knocked as lifeless but I think negative feelings for Helldorado (three songs from that album are featured) are playing a part in some critics’ overall opinion of the album. Then again, this is the band’s THIRD live album, so I assume perhaps for most that one live W.A.S.P. album is enough. I’ve never been the biggest fan of live albums, but I personally think the album is fine for what it is even if Blackie himself isn’t happy with the production. As to who actually produced it, I’m not sure, I couldn’t find any info.

This album was originally packaged with the DVD of the show.

Highlights: “Inside the Electric Circus”, “Wild Child”, “L.O.V.E. Machine”, “The Real Me”, “I Wanna Be Somebody”

Disc 2: Helldorado (1999, CMC International Records)

1. “Drive By” … 0:55
2. “Helldorado” … 5:05
3. “Don’t Cry (Just Suck)” … 4:16
4. “Damnation Angels” … 6:27
5. “Dirty Balls” … 5:19
6. “High on the Flames” … 4:11
7. “Cocaine Cowboys” … 3:57
8. “Can’t Die Tonight” … 4:04
9. “Saturday Night Cockfight” … 3:20
10. “Hot Rods to Hell (Helldorado Reprise)” … 4:14

Blackie Lawless – Vocals, Guitar
Chris Holmes – Guitar
Mike Duda – Bass
Stet Howland – Drums

Producer: Blackie Lawless

I remember when this album first came out. 1999 was about the time I was heavily starting to get into the whole ’80s metal scene and I remember Metal Edge magazine and the Metal Sludge website both reviewing this album. As I recall, the reviews weren’t glowing which is probably why it took me over a decade to finally pick it up. The reason I did so is because I’m a W.A.S.P. fan and I wanted to form an opinion for myself. I also have to admit the fact that the lyrics on this album have been described as “vile” really piqued my interest.

Lyrically and sonically, the album is a return to form for Blackie and his crew. It’s 1986 all over again but this time the lyrics are even more outrageous. I guess Blackie was hoping for lightning to strike twice and become singled out as a controversial artist again but by 1999 no one was paying attention to any new contributions from the ’80s veterans.

Blackie has claimed in recent years that he is a reformed Christian so I would really love to hear his thoughts on this album these days. There’s some really twisted humor here backed up by tons of anger and misogyny. Often times all in the same song! Granted, this is generally how you could describe W.A.S.P. except this time it’s turned up to ELEVEN. His head seems like it was probably in a really bad place at the time to feel the need to revert back to such a snarling primitive beast after hitting upon mature themes and concepts (that garnered much praise, mind you) from the last few albums.

This is an obscene and crass album, more so than any other W.A.S.P. release. I’m not really offended or put off by it. I highly doubt I’ll ever get a hankerin’ to play some “Dirty Balls” or “Don’t Cry (Just Suck)” but for better or worse, these are the types of lyrics you put up and become unfazed by when dealing with ’80s metal.

The music itself is what really matters and I have to agree with so many reviews  I’ve read that were not impressed with this release. There’s just something missing here. It sounds like W.A.S.P. but there are very few standout tracks. It’s almost like an album made up entirely of filler and it’s hard to differentiate one song from another.

Highlights: “Helldorado”, “Damnation Angels”, “Dirty Balls”, “Can’t Die Tonight”

W.A.S.P. – The Last Command

W.A.S.P. – The Last Command [Remastered] (1997, Snapper Classics)
Original Release: 1985, Capitol Records

1. “Wild Child” … 5:12
2. “Ball Crusher” … 3:25
3. “Fistful of Diamonds” … 4:16
4. “Jack Action” … 4:17
5. “Widowmaker” … 5:20
6. “Blind in Texas” … (4:20
7. “Cries in the Night” … 3:41
8. “The Last Command” … 4:10
9. “Running Wild in the Streets” … 3:31
10. “Sex Drive” … 3:02
11. “Mississippi Queen” … 3:23
12. “Savage” … 3:33
13. “On Your Knees” (live) … 4:41
14. “Hellion” (live) … 5:47
15. “Sleeping (in the Fire)” (live) … 5:45
16. “Animal (F*ck Like a Beast)” (live) … 4:40
17. “I Wanna Be Somebody” (live) … 5:54

Blackie Lawless – Lead Vocals, Bass
Chris Holmes – Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar
Randy Piper – Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Steve Riley – Drums, Backing Vocals

Producer: Spencer Proffer

I’ve been on a big W.A.S.P. kick thanks to the awesome Babylon, so I decided it was time to add another W.A.S.P. album to my collection and I picked the band’s sophomore effort. The Last Command was never a top priority for me because I’ve read it didn’t compare to the debut. I’m basically just filling holes in my W.A.S.P. collection while cautiously avoiding some of Blackie’s more criticized ’90s and later work. Then again, I’ll probably pick most of those up at some point just because I’m a big fan of Blackie’s voice and he’s never strayed too far from the proven W.A.S.P. sound.

So my response to those that say this album isn’t a good as the debut? You’re crazy. If anything, this album is better. From top to bottom, the album is strong. “Wild Child”, “Ball Crusher”, “Fistful of Diamonds” and “Jack Action” are all classic W.A.S.P. anthems as are “Blind in Texas” and “Sex Drive”. I really like “Cries in the Night” too, which sounds like maybe Blackie was going for a more mainstream glam sound. Blackie mentions in the liner notes that “Cries in the Night” was originally a different song, but changes were made at the request of Capitol. So there you go — Capitol wanted a mainstream glam sound. Odd though since it wasn’t released as a single from what I can tell.

When I first heard “Wild Child”, I think it was from the music video which I caught way back on VH1’s awful Rock Show hosted by that goof Cane. I HATED IT. I don’t know why, maybe I was letting the cheesy video speak for the song, but I just thought it sucked. 10 years later, I think it’s a great W.A.S.P. song. Yeah, the lyrics are pretty bad, but when Blackie sings them with such conviction and lust, how can you not like it?

The Last Command is essential W.A.S.P. and the 1997 remastered version is really cool… SEVEN bonus tracks! We get the really cool cover of Mountain’s signature song (Blackie has always done great covers), a pretty good B-side called “Savage” and then five live tracks recorded back in ’84. Quite a deal for the $7 or $8 I paid for this album.

Highlights: “Wild Child”, “Ball Crusher”, “Fistful of Diamonds”, “Jack Action”, “Blind in Texas”, “Cries in the Night”, “Sex Drive”, “Mississippi Queen”, “Savage”, “Sleeping (In the Fire)” (live)

W.A.S.P. – Dying for the World

W.A.S.P. – Dying for the World (2002, Sanctuary Records/Metal-Is Records)

Track Listing:
1. “Shadow Man” … 5:34
2. “My Wicked Heart” … 5:38
3. “Black Bone Torso” … 2:15
4. “Hell for Eternity” … 4:38
5. “Hallowed Ground” … 5:54
6. “Revengeance” … 5:20
7. “Trail of Tears” … 5:50
8. “Stone Cold Killers” … 4:56
9. “Rubber Man” … 4:25
10. “Hallowed Ground” [acoustic version] …6:08

Blackie Lawless – Lead Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
Darrell Roberts – Guitar, Backing Vocals
Mike Duda – Bass, Backing Vocals
Frankie Banali – Drums

Produced by: Blackie Lawless

Lawless’ shock brigade keeps crankin’ ’em out but this time, things are a bit more serious and somber. The album is a reflection of 9/11 and Blackie’s anger over the situation. The trademark W.A.S.P. sound is still here though, make no mistake, this *is* W.A.S.P. metal and that powerful Blackie howl is prevalent. It’s just that this time, Blackie isn’t using shock & sex to sell the album.

I haven’t listened to all of W.A.S.P.’s output (though I have heard most) and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised when I bought this shorty after it’s release because I honestly wasn’t expecting too much thanks to the bad word I had hear about their late 90s work. All told, I think this is one of the bands better albums and Blackie still shows off one of the coolest, most evil voices in rock.

Highlights: “My Wicked Heart”, “Black Bone Torso”, “Hell for Eternity”, “Hallowed Ground”, “Trail of Tears”, “Hallowed Ground” [acoustic version]

W.A.S.P. – W.A.S.P.

W.A.S.P. [Bonus Tracks Reissue] (1984, Capitol Records; 2003, Snapper Classics)

Track Listing:
1. “Animal (F**k Like a Beast)” – 3:07
2. “I Wanna Be Somebody” – 3:43
3. “L.O.V.E. Machine” – 3:51
4. “The Flame” – 3:41
5. “B.A.D.” – 3:56
6. “School Daze” – 3:35
7. “Hellion” – 3:39
8. “Sleeping (In the Fire)” – 3:55
9. “On Your Knees” – 3:48
10. “Tormentor” – 4:10
11. “The Torture Never Stops” – 3:56
12. “Show No Mercy” – 3:48
13. “Paint It Black” – 3:27

Blackie Lawless – Vocals, Bass
Chris Holmes – Guitar
Randy Piper – Guitar
Tony Richards – Drums

Produced by: Blackie Lawless

Wasp. That’s kind of a funny word isn’t it? It’s looks weird.

This is the 2003 reissue we’re talking about here. The difference from the original ’84 release is “Animal (F**k Like A Beast)” is now included (as it was originally meant to be before Capitol axed it for fear of the album being banned) and there are two more songs tacked on at the end including a cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It Black”, which is very good.

I don’t have much to say on this album other than W.A.S.P. usually delivers on sleazy, sexist, angry shock rock heavy metal and this is the album started it all… and also gave Tipper Gore a conniption fit.

Blackie has one of the coolest voices in heavy metal, such venom and anger he spews!

Highlights: “Animal (F**k Like A Beast)”, “I Wanna Be Somebody”, “L.O.V.E. Machine”, “B.A.D.”, “Sleeping (In the Fire)”, “Paint It Black”

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