Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog) (last update 5/23/2017)

February 14, 2010

W.A.S.P. ~ W.A.S.P. (aka debut)

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: heavy metal, shock rock, 80's rock
Label: Capitol
Year: 1984
Home: Los Angeles

Members: Blackie Lawless ~ lead vocals/bass
Chris Holmes ~ guitar
Randy Piper ~ guitars/backing vocals
Tony Richards ~ drums/backing vocals

Upon first listen my initial thoughts are: 1) Blackie Lawless really doesn't sing, 2) this reminds me of Motorhead, 3) rock-n-roll is usually seen as being rooted in carnality & W.A.S.P. leaves any who disagree with that high & dry. Now, an explaination. 1) Rough voiced Blackie can't really sing but neither does he growl, as is the often taken other option. Lack of voice is a common & often over-looked fault with rock music, but in the context of 1984 when his peers were more often than not aiming to imitate the high pitches of Plant, Daltrey, Osbourne & Halford, this must have seemed like something really exciting. Today, I might say he's similiar to Glenn Danzig, albeit with more reverb & truly scary versus Danzig's posings. Yes, scary is the right word. Twisted Sister aimed for horror & blasphemy, expanding upon the legacy of Alice Cooper, but it was under a viel of costumed camp. Blackie also has the costume but without the camp or modesty. This is the real thing that Snider & co. never dared to really do. One of these bands became an MTV sensation, while the other continues to make relevant music two decades later & waving to it's once-upon-a-time competitor now on the nostalgia circuit. Hmm. 2) I've always seen Motorhead as being a leader in the style of driving riffs that sound like an engine revving or a bear gone mad, as it makes the listener feel pumped, wild & mad. Compared to the more technical show-offs the Satrianis & Vais of 1984, W.A.S.P. is not just an animal in name but in action. Was there headbanging before the W.A.S.P.s & Motorheads? Again, two of these bands/musicians have continued to be popular without changing their look much, while two of them are in comeback mode with new looks. Hmm. 3) The blues was Devil music while Elvis destroyed the morals of a generation with his hips, not to forget the bad boy image of the Rolling Stones & the fact that Led Zeppelin use an orgasm as the guitar/vocal call & response bridge in "Whole Lotta Love". Rock-n-roll has always been stereotyped as carnal music, exaggerating the animalistic sides of sex, violence, Satanism & narcissism. W.A.S.P. takes this all to the extreme with pride & abandon. Truth be told, W.A.S.P., like Motorhead, has a discography of basically one sound within a small window of variation. But, to hear it nearly fully matured on their debut you know you're hearing a great composer. W.A.S.P. is what rock-n-roll is meant to be. This is the natural progression from '(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction'. How ironic that this was released on the same label that Megadeth would leave over a decade later feeling the label had no use for heavy metal in it's modern catalog.

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