W.A.S.P. – Golgotha (Album Review)

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For the last thirty-three years, W.A.S.P. (there has been no definitive answer for the acronym name) has been one of the leading bands in the Metal kingdom. Never shying away from being themselves, they came onto the music scene from Los Angeles, CA and immediately started controversy with their first single, “Animal (Fuck Like a Beast).” In 1984, the band signed with Capitol Records, and in the Summer, W.A.S.P., their debut album was released featuring the singles, “”L.O.V.E. Machine” and “I Wanna Be Somebody.” Their second album, The Last Command, followed Fall of the next year featuring the single, “Blind in Texas,” which has proven to be the song they are best known for. Keeping their name strong through the decades, W.A.S.P. has proven they are a force to be reckoned with possessing such concept records as 1992’s Crimson Idol, along with 2004’s The Neon God: Part 1 – The Rise and The Neon God: Part 2 – The Demise. Now over thirty years later, W.A.S.P., with the lineup of Blackie Lawless (lead vocals, rhythm guitar, bass, drums, keyboards), Doug Blair (lead guitar and backing vocals), and Mike Duda (bass and backing vocals), is primed after six years of radio silence to release Golgotha on October 2nd via Napalm Records

Golgotha, the place where Jesus was crucified, follows in the vein of 2009’s Babylon with its horror stories of the bible, taking Metal to the next level in a ’70s and ’80s Rock operatic way. “Scream” gets the album going with its opening riff and catchy drumbeat as this tune has a taunting feel when the guitar solo screams, like the temptation of Christ, “Do you believe, do you see/A graven idol of your love/And pray to me and to feed/And bow down to your dangerous god.” Next, “Last Runaway” has a upbeat melody juxtaposed with the story of Peter denying Christ as he is led to be interrogated by the theologians, or Judas’s betrayal; “The price of pride bled down on me/And ransomed my soul…” Moving onto, “Shotgun,” with a seeming nod to The Who in the intro, this track has an aggressive feel like the Romans coming to take Jesus to trial and the scourging, “And you cheered y’alls clown to king/Till your tongue’s too numb to scream/Ooh, the promise of tomorrow is long gone/And the whip keeps pounding down now…”

Slowing down the tempo and bleeding feeling is “Miss You” with its lighter-raising beat and wailing guitar solo as the track tells of the loneliness Christ had to feel when he was scourging, “Can you hear me now – ooh/Do you see somehow – ooh/Is there no love from your great beyond?” Continuing on is the brooding “Falling Under” with its plucky hook and alternating heartbeat-like drums and like minutes ticking off in this song that seems to be about the long hours Jesus spent on the cross while the throngs watch and waited; “Bathe me in your blood back alive/Save me from armies of darkness/Save me so cruel…” The band seem like they are taking on the voice of the Disciples in “Slaves of the New World Order” in a tongue-in-cheek way as harmonized “Ooos” and a cymbal seems to signify the act is finished, and life goes on after Jesus’s death as the track turns into a hard tune that quickens through to the finish, “Swear to your lying king/Empires and walls of fire fall/Bloody screams and graven wonder/Remember your dying king/New truth to lies claim you all.”

The hard-hitting “Eyes of My Maker” tells the story of the throngs realizing that they have just killed the Son of God, and now the regret is setting in,”Golgotha’s worst, I railed and cursed/And nailed the cross all time/Ooh by chapter and verse, by God I’m cursed.” The anthemic “Hero of the World” comes with Blackie’s breathy vocals followed by a tight riff and hyped drums as he sings about how we as a society put the Anti-Christ on a pedestal, making them Head of State, and crucify the one who deserves our adoration, “Still we make a lying prophet god/Ooh panic comes and chaos seeds…” The rich ballad album title track, “Golgotha,” closes the album with its pleading guitars that go hand-in-hand with the vocals of the repenting thief crucified with him, “Jesus I need you now/Free me I’m lost somehow/Oh, remember me today/I’m a leper left to hang/Oh, yes I need you now.” This song can also be taken as the congregation as a whole lamenting their actions after all is said and done.

W.A.S.P. has delivered in spades on their six-year studio album hiatus with Golgotha to continue Babylon’s thought-provoking, bible-themed Horror storyline, but with passion, reverence, and an understanding of the ramifications man’s choices had, have, and will have for generations to come through their eyes. CrypticRock gives Golgotha 5 out of 5 stars.

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