The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world


WASP – BABYLON

Released October 2009

 

 

It's been a long while since anything by Blackie Lawless & WASP piqued my interest, but the word on the street was that Babylon was a solid return to form, so I gave it a hopeful spin, and the verdict...?

 

This is WASP as they used to be and should remain - the guitars are heavy and the lead playing rings loud and clear, and Blackie is in fine voice. More importantly, the plodding and pretentious concepts are gone and the songs are back - these are catchy numbers that continue to buzz around my head long after the CD finishes.

 

This is, ironically, still a “concept” album though – this time around the Four Horsemen Of The Apocalypse theme – but it’s a return to putting the songs first, rather than the story or message, which is what dragged albums such as The Headless Children and The Neon God down.

 

Opening double whammy of Crazy and Live To Die Another Day are classic slices of WASP-ery, harkening back to their eighties glory days, and Seas Of Fire wouldn't have been out of place on their second or third albums.

 

Babylon also features 2 cover versions- Deep purple's Burn, and Chuck Berry's Promised Land. The latter is a metal boogie barnestormer, as immediate as the former takes a little getting used to. Both are performed well of course - Lawless has always been willing to tackle a classic cover or two and these fare far better than some of his previous efforts.

 

Into the fire starts as a smokey torch song styled ballad before building up to a heartache-wrought climax with some suitably over the top fretwork from Doug Blair – only Blackie still remains from the classic original lineup, and he is obviously still calling the shots as WASP 2009 still sound like the band we know and love.

 

Overall Babylon is a fine addition to the WASP catalogue, yet with only 7 new songs – 9 in total – it’s a little thin on the ground. I also wonder the relevance of Promised Land especially to the storyline – it seems like this song and also Burn were tacked onto the story to make up the numbers, so to speak. I certainly enjoyed the album as a collection of WASP songs, but I didn’t find it a tour de force as a conceptual piece, mainly because it lacks a particularly coherent storyline.

 

Shane Pinnegar