Blackie Lawless and W.A.S.P. have been on an incredible roll since 1997’s K.F.D. Helldorado, Unholy Terror, and Dying for the World. All were all solid efforts, and better than anyone could have expected. This brings us to their new release, The Neon God Part 1—The Rise, a concept album outlined in a forced and badly written ten (!) page libretto (if you will). The Neon God tells the story of Jesse Slane, who, like all other main characters in concept albums, is an orphaned soul who travels many paths and winds up as a false prophet. Whatever. . .this disc rocks. Definitely not breaking any new ground, but this is the epitome of W.A.S.P.
The fast-paced songs, “Wishing Well,” “Sister Sadie (and the Black Habits),” “X.T.C. Riders,” and “The Running Man” have a sinister, dirty, glam feel. The slow, mid-tempo pieces, “Asylum #9,” “What I’ll Never Find,” and closing track, “The Raging Storm,” have an overwhelming melancholy that simply put, make me feel all alone.
The album has a couple of musical distractions. “The Red Room of the Rising Sun” is an embarrassment of a Beatles/The Cult rip-off. The album’s dated ‘80s drum sound that Blackie settled for takes the bite out of an otherwise solid, yet predictable performance out of hard-rock veteran Frankie Banali (Quiet Riot, Ozzy). The Neon God Part 2 is scheduled to come out this year. I’ll admit I’m not left hanging for the rest of the story, but the idea of another (hopefully) quality W.A.S.P. album sounds pretty good to me!
W.A.S.P. will be performing with (yeouch!) locals Jaded Poet and Wish Doctor on Tuesday, July 20th at the Bluebird Theater. The show is all ages, and doors open at 8 p.m. For more information, visit www.nipp.com.