“Babylon” by W.A.S.P.

Artist: W.A.S.P.
Title: “Babylon”
Label: Demolition Records
Release Date: 10/27/2009
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 3.75/5

I’ve read a number of reviews where fans are faulting Blackie Lawless and company for revisiting a few musical themes on their latest release “Babylon” and when one considers how many artists did a “return to form” release back in 2007-2008 I can hardly see why this is an issue when W.A.S.P. chooses to do the same. That being said, I found the material on “Babylon” to be rather enjoyable as a series of new tunes for the W.A.S.P. library and while there is a lot of groove and vibe that calls to mind “The Last Command” and even their self-titled “W.A.S.P.” in some respects, there is nothing akin to “Inside The Electric Circus” (thank the dark gods for that). Sadly I could not compare it to the bands previous effort “Dominator” as I never even saw it on the shelves in any of the retailers of my region and with the price of import CD’s still being rather high, this economy meant we would just bypass it. Back to “Babylon”, the album follows a theme and that is around the biblical four horsemen and even though this is the case I was able to enjoy the songs as stand alone numbers. It starts off strong with an extended intro on “Crazy” but I preferred the third track “Babylon’s Burning” a little more and yes I know this sounds just a wee bit like “Restless Gypsy” with some of the chords but it’s really not all that similar across the whole tune. The first of two covers came up next with Deep Purple’s “Burn” and I guess this number fit in the framework of the apocalypse when it was all said and done. I’ve always liked the way W.A.S.P. put their mark on another artists track and thing the past releases have given us some strong offerings.

One of the albums strongest tracks in my opinion was “Into The Fire” and while slower than most of the companion tunes had the most impact on me as the listener. I also felt how “Godless Run” was a highlight and was reminded about just how effective W.A.S.P. was at the Metal ballad type number. These two can sit comfortably along with the likes of “Sleeping In The Fire” and “Hold On To My Heart”. The playing is solid across the board and for those who are looking for some consistency in the lineup please be aware that Blackie is the sole remaining original member while bassist Mike Duda would be the next longest standing in the group. The role of drummer and guitarist seems to shift often in the band and that happens in more groups than it does not. For “Babylon” we find Mike Dupke on the drums while the axe is swung by Doug Blair. Each of them play commendably and I am sure were perfect for what Lawless had hoped to deliver with this release. The album is closed out by the Chuck Berry classic “Promised Land” and while that might strike the listener as strange there is a cool groove to it and it really ends the whole release in good form with a lot of energy. I am sure that he does this one live and if he does not it is a big mistake since it keeps the blood pumping.

A couple of criticisms come to mind in terms of the provided booklet which while nice have for the lyrics, presents them in a very light font color over a background color that makes them very difficult to read. If you are one of W.A.S.P.’s longer standing fans like I am, you will appreciate my complaining about this as the years of reading super small print are apparently behind us. Thanks computers and video games for that I guess. There is also only one visual representation of the band and that is in headshots on the rear of the release. W.A.S.P. has always been a very visually imposing band so a few more photos of the lineup in full regalia would have been nice. We do find images of the horsemen and some bleak skulls around the whole of the booklet which gets the point across of course. I cannot say that this is a great jumping on point for a new fan since there are better W.A.S.P. albums out there to try first but I will say that it is a strong enough recording to enjoy if you have supported the band through thick and thin. New fans should seek out the self-titled debut, the live effort “Double Live Assassins” and the still stunning “Crimson Idol” before digging into this one. It will make more sense if they follow those instructions and when they are won over we shall welcome them into the fold.

Track Listing:
1. Crazy
2. Live To Die Another Day
3. Babylon’s Burning
4. Burn
5. Into The Fire
6. Thunder Red
7. Seas Of Fire
8. Godless Run
9. Promised Land

Official Website: http://www.waspnation.com

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