W.A.S.P. - 'Golgotha'

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W.A.S.P. - 'Golgotha'

Thoroughly recommended.

Truth be told, I haven't listened to W.A.S.P. in years, not since the release of 'The Crimson Idol' all the way back in 1992. Not for any particular reason, they just faded out of my perspective as mainstream music became harder to find during the "Grunge years". So when 'Golgotha' drooped into my inbox I decided, more out of nostalgia than anything, that I'd give it the once-over – and I'm so glad I did! As I have no knowledge of their recent output I have nothing to make comparisons to, enabling me to listen with a completely open mind – and ultimately conclude that it's awesome!

The opening, ultra-melodic salvo of 'Scream', 'Last Runaway' and 'Shotgun' is as good an opening trio of songs you're as likely to hear on any release this year, with the energetic '...Runaway' in particular a strong contender for song of the year with its soaring melodies and anthemic chorus – serious radio airplay surely beckons.

The album takes a darker turn at track four with the superb, lengthy power-ballad 'Miss You' (a track originally written for the '...Idol' album) with Blackie Lawless digging deep to wrench out a wonderfully tortured, emotional vocal, while the twin extended guitar solos from Doug Blair are a joy to behold and serve to augment the powerful, emotional lyrics.

From thereon in, the album continues in the somewhat darker vein, yet as the excellent 'Fallen Under' demonstrates it's definitely no less melodic. The album's second epic number is 'Slaves Of The New World Order', the varying musical passages and numerous (occasionally rampant) time changes giving it a definite 'Chainsaw Charlie' classic feel. 'Eyes Of My Maker' has the feel of old-school Metal while having a wonderful Progressive-tinged instrumental breakdown and another emotional Lawless vocal, then 'Hero Of The World' bears hallmarks of classic The Who – a road W.A.S.P. have driven before.

The album concludes with its piece de resistance title track, 'Golgotha' is another intense, emotionally epic power ballad whose lyrical inspiration is the very culmination of Lawless' religious beliefs since he became a born-again Christian, the title referring to the site where Jesus was crucified.

I find it incredulous that W.A.S.P. have somehow managed to retain their original signature sound while managing to incorporate more mature, thought-provoking lyrics that revolve around Blackie's faith, a far cry from their eighties output. I'm positive that long-term seasoned W.A.S.P. fans will absolutely love this album, I believe it can sit proudly alongside the 'Headless Children' and '...Idol' opuses. Me, I'm clearing a space under "W" in my CD collection to invest in their back catalogue to see what I've been missing all these years! Thoroughly recommended.

Ant Heeks

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