Thursday, November 05, 2009

W.A.S.P. - Babylon
Demolition

Like an alternate, spurious universe's embodiment of Bonodonna, Blackie Lawless here humbly appoints hisself ambassador for marrying, or marring, ancient myths with their modern day mirrors, valiantly tackling the beastly spectre of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. And despite, or because of maybe, it sounding like quite a colossal dose of classic WASP, with some latter day idol-besmirching concept clutter coerced into typical positions, then it is likewise quite good but not exactly far-reaching. However, as in the past so in the present, for these positions aren't exactly compromising or explicit as all content is covered by strict pre-screenings in WASP's staple theatrical metal tenets, before surgery begins. No longer simply intent to arouse outrage in moral majority territory, modern day WASP's masterplan is to enforce relations with their tried, much-jested about but easily digested attack formations and such timeworn yet eternal metal concerns of good and evil. Never as barren of brain as his guitarists might have made him seem by their being in his band, Lawless can still seemingly toss off and crimp out metallic-pop anthems from the immortal blueprint of early Alice Cooper, Twisted Sister and KISS albums like a priest dispensing hail mary's. Tis a crusade positively bulging with trademark incandescent energy - once again they keep their ages old chaotic NWOBHM spark - with many a height soared and field marshalled to say the least, as the Lawless way with a shameless 'n shapely melody meets little resistance. With that peculiarly unique and passionate raven squawk masking the faux-philosophical lyrics until the choruses swoop low to distract attention slightly from the actual titles he's charring with his petrol-coated larynx...either that or it's when the ladies touch their knees and no-one can hear anyway. For here exists quite possibly the most banal bundle of song titles lumped together on one back sleeve ever. Burn, Into The Fire, Thunder Red (mis-heard Springsteen??) and Babylon's Burning. Hell, why not just shove Number Of The Beast in there too? And Seas Of Fire must have been etched on the hairy back of at least three album sleeves in 1982 alone. Cheerily though, as can be discerned, this doesn't affect the music muchly. Nooo, tisn't like they've taken their carefully considered consternation-causing moniker in vain with a Damascean exchange for the shock tactic of taking the serious stance, nor can it be described as an imaginative stride to go a-roaming down new alleys, dabbling in industrial stuff ten years too late like some old L.A. lags of Blackie's time. Despite Blackie's ultra distinctive voice and indiscreet charisma, though, it's ultimately an ephemeral and easily forgotten session. Of course none of it is comparable - though the first trident strike arguably could make good ground - to their days of cod-piece backfiring; beastalike fuck service; pyrotechnics by way of accidental hair-torching; PMRC- feminist-law flouting aaah the simple pleasures of a life that was solely L.O.V.E. Machine (need) vs Doctor (don't need); sleeping in fires while blind in Texas; wanting to be somebody, presumably because being seen as a hellion wasn't good enough for the ambitious bunch, it seems), and judged against most of the toss relentlessly yet aimlessly seeping and slipping out of the running to ascend the colossal, shite-stained, suppurating, rotten tit of an industry, striving to within sun cycles distance of the summit just to suck a piece of the putrefaction from the holy and wholly, slowly oozing cesspit, this holds a candle to them then scolds their faces off. So they're no longer ravenous shock tactic junkies and titillation but a solid bromide WASP-sody with an arid lack of dramatic tension in the titular area will far suffice over quite some dimension of the current musical climate. The grand galloping, gallivanting cavort with the Wonder Woman-twirling riff from Wild Child introducing Crazy (incidentally Seas Of Fire enters with a riff not unlike 9-5 Nasty), supposedly dealing with much darker themes than the love song setting it occupies, hmmmm, is possessed by one of those irrepressibly strident choruses comparable to those that seemingly dropped out of Blackie's BBC-approved ass-less pants in the above heyday, a trait that Live To Die Another Day (title??) takes on and verily trounces. That this even and easily survives a descent into Ronnie Dio domains on Babylon's Burning (though, admittedly it is of Long Live Rock'n'Roll) speaks volumes, well at least one notch. At nine tracks it appears pretty short, though all songs check in at around the five minute or so mark. One of the couple of inconsequential ballads, Godless Run (notable mainly as Into The Fire could be the bastard son of the debut's Sleeping In The Fire), should be cast adrift. The diabolically jolly and gloriously devil may care plunge through Elvis Berry's Promised Land is - surely implausible as a song that couldn't be enjoyed while seas swell and skies fall - suggests a hopeful end to the saga. Time will tell. 'It's easy to mock', so goeth the saying. Yes, but it's also easier to rock. And the sight of Mr World Apocalypse Saving Preacher bringing the four horsemen to heel would rock even more. Even if it did cause some sort of continental collapse.
Stu Gibson
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