My love of W.A.S.P. goes back a long time, in fact, the longest of any other hard rock/heavy metal band. They were my first. As a teenager, the last thing I thought I would find in the records section at the library was a W.A.S.P. album. Along with their first album, I also found KISS’ first. I ditched the KISS one and checked out W.A.S.P. and loved it. Don’t fret, I would check out the KISS one the following week and fall in love with that as well. I was in transition from listening to Madonna, Steve Winwood and other such pop acts of the time. Thankfully I kept those great artists in my collection and just added. I always add and rarely delete, give it a try…it is called being open minded…regardless of how many times I had the shit kicked out of me for walking around with my boombox Madonna blaring, I stood proud and alas still do! I digress but it explains my love for W.A.S.P. They combined amazing early rock n’ roll sounds of the 50’s and 60’s with tremendous crunching loud guitars and melodic singing with a brash attitude. In love! On another note, my most recent birthday gift from my beloved wife was just that first W.A.S.P. record a brand spanking new copy on beautiful translucent red vinyl. Mucho gracias mi esposa!
Fast forward to 2016 and Chris Holmes has another solo release. To be honest, I was not with great expectations (pun intended KISSarmy!) since his previous solos were mostly not for me and this C.H.P. is essentially taking tracks from those previous 2 and here you go. It does sound like there has been some re-recording or remastering. To be further and foremost honest, I only gave previous solo releases from Chris a glance of a listen which stems from his work with bands after W.A.S.P.
Pressing play I immediately noticed some great crunching melodic guitar after a nice sounding 16 string guitar I think. I will sacrifice the face that yes there are some silly lyrics. If Metallica can get away with “we’re so f%$ked, shit out of luck” I think I can give some grace here. FYI Metallica you should not bash Poison lyrics ever again if you are serving that up to us as your latest….once again I digress. Chris’ lyrics come from a deep dark anger that is heard and very evident in the music. Songs such as “Loser”, “They All Lie And Cheat”, “Shitting Bricks”, “Born Work Die” and “TFMF” are as emotional and angry and I have heard it, and not for the sake of it as it comes across sincere to my ears. Based on what this guy has put himself through, no doubt. I love the honesty of a song like “Shitting Bricks”, regardless of the cliché. To me, this has a combination singing style of Steve Earle and a James Hetfield growl.
I really did think this would be a one listen through but I have played it throughout quite a few times in the first week of initial listen, which is a good sign the songs are sticking with me. The 2 live tracks are also a pretty good listen: “Shitting Bricks” and “Let it Roar”.
Sometimes everyone needs a second chance, even the “mean man”. Glad I had a second chance to listen to C.H.P. I know I will be forever crucified for saying this but I am permitted my opinion, this rates higher than the latest from Metallica, much higher. Now if only Blackie and Chris could and would get back together and meld this with Golgotha!
– Blair De Abreu