I felt like I was the only W.A.S.P fan around during this period. Most of my metal head friends had jumped off the W.A.S.P train after “The Headless Children” or “The Crimson Idol”. But I kept going. Actually my cousin Mega and I kept going.
“Unholy Terror” is album number nine, released in 2001 and produced by Blackie Lawless, which from reading some of the reviews online recently, people hated, as they found the production flat. But I never did have a problem with it, as most productions circa 2001 sounded like this.
The band at this time is Blackie on vocals and guitar, Chris Holmes on lead guitar, Mike Duda on bass and Stet Howland on drums. But, the album was started in February 1999 and finished at the start of 2001. So during that two year period, the band was a bit different. Which means, you get some other players.
The late Frankie Banali plays drums on “Hate To Love Me”, “Loco-Motive Man”, “Charisma”, “Raven Heart” and “Wasted White Boys”. Basically, my favourite tracks. And Roy Z plays lead guitar on “Who Slayed Baby Jane?” and “Wasted White Boys”.
Chris Holmes left the band during the recording process for this album. And even though he is credited, Holmes has said in interviews he didn’t play a note on it.
Coming into this album, I didn’t like “K.F.D” and “Helldorado”.
So, I was skeptical.
In the CD booklet, Blackie writes that “this album is similar to “Headless” in some ways with the social and political references but “Unholy Terror” brings my religious upbringing into the picture”.
“Let It Roar”
It’s got that “Love Machine” vibe merged with “The Headless Children” solo section.
Come on and stand for what you believe
Oh you gotta get up on your feet
Or die on your knees
Let it Roar, cause I wanna be oh yeah
Before Kate Perry was telling people to roar, Blackie was doing it from way back.
“Hate To Love Me”
Blackie is channelling his Who and Jethro Tull influences.
It’s got that main theme from “The Crimson Idol” as its centrepiece. Think “Chainsaw Charlie” meets “Black Forever” from the “Still Not Black Enough” album. Its familiar, its flawless and I like it.
Oh God I’m coming
Read my words I’m coming
I got a gun I’m coming
You won’t hear me coming
Inspired by the recent rash of school shootings in America. Then again, it’s still relevant today. Nothing has really changed in that regard. If anything, they have gotten worse and worse.
Crowned messiah, I crucified him
And still ya don’t believe
I am Kings – I am queens
Unholy terrors me
It’s like a Tool song, with a repeating and percolating clean tone riff, sounding sinister as soon as Blackie’s whispered vocal line starts. As the vocal line builds in intensity, so does the guitar. And it bleeds into “Charisma” because “Unholy Terror/Charisma” is one song divided into two tracks.
“When I was writing the lyrics for “Charisma” and “Unholy Terror”, I was talking about the preconceived idea that most of us have about world figures such as entertainers, politicians or athletes that we admire.”
Blackie Lawless in the CD booklet to “Unholy Terror”.
I’m hooked as soon as the John Bonham drum groove and Zeppelin like guitar groove (which reminds me of “When The Levee Breaks” merged with “Kashmir”) kick in. It’s probably one of Blackie’s best songs of the 2000’s era.
I wrap myself in the American Flag
And tell people I’m for which it stands
I’m coming back till you know I’m God
Till you believe, till you know my charisma
In the CD booklet, the first line is attributed to “Ronald Reagan” and the second line to “Richard Nixon and Al Gore”. Typical of politicians to proclaim themselves as Gods.
I’m a fear from a shadow land
I seduce you all
Here I come new messiah man
To bow to me, make me your God
In the CD booklet, these four lines are about “The Anti-Christ”.
I got them all marching to the rhythm
Believing me, oh yeah, their new religion
I’m a racist with a waving flag
Of domination with a fascist plan
These four lines are about “Adolf Hitler” which is bizarre, because if you didn’t have the CD booklet pointing that out and you heard this song for the first time in the last few years, you would attribute these to an ex U.S President that just got booted.
“Who Slayed Baby Jane?”
TELL ME NOW who slayed oh my Little Baby Jane
Rolling down the stairs
Her Little head has rolled away
Put it in my hands
This is the stuff that Alice Cooper writes. And it works in Blackie’s world as well.
It’s an instrumental.
It has this “Hold On To My Heart” feel merged with “Albatross” from Peter Green/Fleetwood Mac and “Planet Caravan” from Black Sabbath.
In the CD booklet, Blackie wrote that its “one of the greatest little tunes I’ve ever done. I love it. It’s music to get high by. Enjoy!”
From the intro riff, which reminded me of “Schools Out”, I was hooked.
It’s interchangeable with “Forever Free”. It’s actually an demo that goes back to “The Headless Children” album. The CD Booklet mentions that the song was originally titled “Circle Of Legend” and it was meant to act as a reprise to “Forever Free”.
Do the shadows of my memory
From a long ago time
Lead a path to the other lives of me
Souls of past great divides
The song is inspired by Native American Indian stories and mythology.
Who knows what kind of spirit world exists and if it does, how it all interconnects.
“Wasted White Boys”
Man, the whole W.A.S.P catalogue is in this song.
Throughout its six minutes, the song sounds like a derivative version of “Blind In Texas”, “On Your Knees”, “Dirty Balls”, “Mean Man”, “Arena Of Pleasure” and “I Am One”.
Wasted boys feeling no pain
Howl at the moon in the night
Just give me shooters and that demon cocaine
I’m the devil alright
And the outro is like “Free Bird”, with “Wild Child Holmes” allowed to spread his wings and fly on this one. Or was it Blackie wailing away or Roy Z. I guess we will never know the true story because those wasted white boys are keeping secrets.
Now if you haven’t heard W.A.S.P previously, go and checkout, “The Headless Children” and “The Crimson Idol” first. If you are a fan and liked those albums, you will like this album as well. It’s W.A.S.P or Blackie doing what they do best. Rocking out.
“The message here in this album is think for yourself, seek out answers for yourself and not be manipulated (as I was) by some guy, selling you “prepacked” beliefs whether they are religious or political (which often times go together)”.
Black Lawless in the CD Booklet to “Unholy Terror”