Golgotha is the 15th studio album from the band they call W.A.S.P. Blackie Lawless has survived the ups and downs of the ever-changing music industry, not to mention more than a few lineup changes. The fact remains, he has always stayed true to his vision of W.A.S.P. They maintained a signature sound and whether they were singing about partying, politics or religion you could always count on it to rock.
I was a huge fan from the word go. The debut album still ranks very high in my collection and witnessing W.A.S.P. live on the Headless Children tour was truly something to behold. I remained an avid fan right up through the Helldorado album. After that, to be honest, my interest waned a little. Not that they had disappointed me musically, I still bought all the albums but nothing really grabbed me like the pre-Helldorado albums. I am not sure why, likely I just wasn’t giving these records the proper attention and in light of what I have just heard, I think it’s time to revisit the entire W.A.S.P. catalogue once again.
So it was a couple of weeks ago I noticed that the new single “Last Runaway” was available for listening online and I gave it a quick spin. I have to say, people, this song GRABBED me! I was actually excited to hear some more. When the opportunity to review the new album presented itself, I did not hesitate. Golgotha has totally rekindled my love for this band and W.A.S.P. fans are in for a real treat on October 2nd when it’s finally released on Napalm Records.
That signature W.A.S.P. sound wastes no time as “Scream” opens the album. A solid opening track that I feel would have fit very nicely on the Last Command album. My head was pleasantly banging to some old school sounding W.A.S.P.
The second song, however, is the album’s crowning jewel. The “Last Runaway”, upon further examination is quite possibly the greatest W.A.S.P. song since “Blind in Texas” came blaring out of my speakers. Over the years Blackie has penned some incredibly touching and beautiful ballads (“Forever Free”, “Hold On To My Heart”, etc.) and a crap load of incredible balls-out rockers (“Wild Child”, “Headless Children”, “Love Machine”, etc.), the “Last Runaway” seems to be a mixture of both. It falls completely into the balls-out rocker category but has the melodic and lyrical sensibility of his best ballads. This could very well be my new favourite W.A.S.P. song ever!
“Shotgun” is next delivering a double barrel blast of rock ‘n’ roll. Great hook, this is a classic and fun new W.A.S.P. song that I would love to hear performed live.
I mentioned Blackie’s ability to write really strong ballads and he pulls out another on here with “Miss You”. Blackie’s vocals are heart wrenching, but the star of this song is absolutely Doug Blair. Clocking in at over 7 minutes, Doug’s second solo that rides out the song is nothing short of amazing. It’s like he is playing for his life, so musical and so incredibly powerful. Close your eyes and it will literally take you away. Brilliant!
The next three tracks do nothing to lose my interest. “Fallen Under”, “Slaves of the New World Order” and “Eyes of my Maker” all very strong, all very enjoyable. Nothing quite to the level of “Last Runaway” but nothing I would consider filler either. I am still and always will be an album guy. Listening to an album as a complete piece of work is what music is all about and when it’s done well, it’s almost magical. Like a great book, you get taken inside and the world disappears for a while. That is art and that is what is missing from music today.
“Hero of the World” ahhhh, can you hear the Pete Townsend influence at the beginning? Blackie has always worn this influence on his sleeve. W.A.S.P.’s cover of “The Real Me” will always remain one of the greatest covers ever. This seems like another salute to his rock ‘n’ roll hero with another blistering solo from Mr. Blair.
Closing out the latest W.A.S.P. experience is the title track “Golgotha”. Another 7-minute epic and epic is right! The bible translates Golgotha as “the place of the skull”, a hill just outside the walls of Jerusalem that was the site where Jesus was crucified. Long gone are the days of Blackie singing about getting wasted. The lyrics are both thought provoking and incredibly spiritual and the performance is just off the charts. Golgotha is the grand finale to this amazing new album. Well done Mr. Lawless! I am off to listen to some more W.A.S.P.!