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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”

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