Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

2001 – Part 2.3: W.A.S.P – Unholy Terror

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”.

But.

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.

“Loco-Motive Man”

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.

“Unholy Terror”

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”.

“Charisma”

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.

“Euphoria”

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!”

“Raven Heart”

From the intro riff, which reminded me of “Schools Out”, I was hooked.

“Evermore”

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”

Crank it.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Derivative Works, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

W.A.S.P – Post “Crimson Idol” Cuts

I consider “The Crimson Idol” to be WASP’s (and by default Blackie Lawless) crowning achievement. It’s funny how the person that wanted to be somebody in 1983 ended up singing about a person that didn’t want to be the idol of millions.

From my own musical evolution, there is no one higher in my own personal church of rock n roll than Blackie Lawless.

So here is a COMPENDIUM list of post “Crimson Idol” cuts.

Heavens Hung In Black
The masterpiece in Blackie’s career. It is from the “Dominator” album released in 2007. It’s seven plus minutes long and it is not pretentious or wankery. The way it goes from the synths to the outro solo is excellent and emotive. Go on YouTube and you will see that the song has over 10 million views. This is what Blackie said of the song in an interview with Blabbermouth:

“The title is from a quote from American President Abraham Lincoln when he saw the casualty reports from the battle of Gettysburg, and after reading that he said, ‘Tonight the Heaven’s are hung in black.’ So I took that idea and I wrote it from a point of view of a U.S. soldier in Iraq who’s on the verge of dying and he’s standing at the Gates of Heaven but St. Peter tells him that because of all the fighting that has been taking place, they have no more room in Heaven, and that he must come back some other time. So based on that understand that the verses are St. Peter talking, and the chorus is the soldier.”

Some artists need others to write music with however Blackie Lawless is an anomaly that doesn’t subscribe to that paradigm.

Mercy
It’s also from 2007’s “Dominator” album. Love that open string palm muted pedal point riff to kick it off. Blackie rewrote this song and called it “Crazy” for 2009’s “Babylon” album. Both of the songs are just good old rockers.

Take Me Up
One of my favourites. The whole digital delay intro is subtle and powerful. When the clean town first verse comes in, I still have no idea what’s coming. Then the heavy grinding and groovy second verse kicks in and when the hooky chorus kicks in, I am all in. Nodding my head and tapping my foot. It’s also from 2007’s “Dominator” album. “Take Me Up” is a tour de force.

The “Dominator” album is a classic like W.A.S.P’s other classic albums. It’s perfect and without the big hit single, it doesn’t get the attention it deserves. However for those fans who have heard, we can never forget it.

And then there was the album cover, with the American flag partially in flames, a skull take up a corner and nameless headstones taking up another corner. Focusing on the foreign policies of the U.S, Blackie delivered a mind-blowing experience. This is what he said about the album title:

“It is based on the idea of Western imperialism and about what’s wrong with Washington D.C. It’s important that people understand this is not about the American people and it is not a critique on the American people — it is a critique on the government in the United States. If someone looks at the lyrics of ‘Dominator’, they’ll think it’s a man talking to a woman. And I like the interesting concept of that because that’s what bigger countries do to smaller countries — they toss them like they’re their bitch.”

My Wicked Heart
It’s from the “Dying For The World” album released in 2002. The intro is a combination of “Iron Maiden” and “Judas Priest”. Then it morphs into a derivative version of Love Machine in the verses merged with Arena Of Pleasure in the Chorus. Then the Interlude is “Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue)”. Totally brilliant.

“Nothing can change my wicked heart”

Hallowed Ground
It’s also from the “Dying For The World” album released. Just think of the song as “The Idol” part 2. I wouldn’t be surprised that sometime in the future, the publisher who would hold the copyright for this song would probably get sued by the publisher who holds the copyright on “The Idol”. That is how messed up Copyright law is.

Charisma
It’s from the “Unholy Terror” album released in 2001. It has this Led Zeppelin “Kashmir” groove, but it’s classic WASP. Thank God that Blackie Lawless didn’t use the “feel” from a Marvin Gaye song otherwise he would have been in the courts as well if the song made some serious cash.

Raven Heart
The song is also from the “Unholy Terror” album and it is a cross between Alice Cooper’s “School Out” and WASP’s “Love Machine”.

Babylon’s Burning
From 2009. It’s a combination of “The Invisible Boy” and “I Am One” from “The Crimson Idol” album. I love it.

Into The Fire
One more power mid tempo ballad from Blackie. It’s also from the “Babylon” album.

Asylum #9
It’s from the double concept album “The Neon God – Part 1 – The Rise” released in 2004.

What I’ll Never Find
It’s also from the double concept album “The Neon God – Part 1 – The Rise” released in 2004. As usual Blackie Lawless is in top form pounding out his epic power ballads. This song reminds me as an amalgamation of “The Idol” and “Hold On To My Heart”.

The Running Man
It’s funny how “The Running Man” (TRM) sounds like another song with the first letters of each word as T R M (The Real Me). Add to that flavours of “Doctor Rockter” and you have another perfect WASP song.

The Raging Storm
“Sleep In The Fire” merged with “The Idol” over a 12/8 blues rhythm. Brilliant. When I hear Blackie scream “give me love” I am immediately reminded of the “No Love to shelter me” from “The Crimson Idol” album.

The Demise
It’s from the second part of the double concept album “The Neon God – Part 2 – The Demise” released in 2004. It’s “The Titanic Overture” merged with “The Great Misconception Of Me”.

The Last Redemption
The finale from the double concept album “The Neon God” and it’s as good as “The Great Misconception of Me” which is the finale on “The Crimson Idol”. At 13 plus minutes long it sums up the influences of Blackie Lawless.

Damnation Angels
From 1999’s “Helldorado” album. Coming after the disappointing KFD album I was already getting disappointed three songs into “Helldorado”. I started believing that WASP and Blackie were finished. Then came track number 4, with is AC/DC “Hells Bells” intro and I had faith again in the power of Lawless.

Still Not Black Enough
This song is a 4 minute version of “The Great Misconception of Me” from “The Crimson Idol”.

Actually “Still Not Black Enough” and “Black Forever” from the same album have a lot of similarities in the music (the intro’s are identical).

The “Still Not Black Enough” album released in 1995 was the one that followed “The Crimson Idol”. I didn’t know what to expect at this point in time as a lot of the bands I liked delivered more contemporary sounding albums as the commercial musical landscape threw in their lot with the Seattle sound.

Was there a place for WASP in this new environment?

Of course there was. Blackie, re-wrote “The Crimson Idol” and stayed true to the old ways.

Scared To Death
It’s got this “Eye Of The Tiger” vibe merged with “Jesus Christ Superstar”. Another classic from Blackie.

Goodbye America
A remake of “Chainsaw Charlie” and “The Titanic Overture”. The reason why W.A.S.P resonated with me is that as Blackie got older, I felt like he didn’t have to fit a formula to succeed. The hit parade that the mainstream writes about was just not for him. He instead focused on the thousands of cult fans that gravitate to W.A.S.P.

Keep Holding On
A derivative version of “Hold On To My Heart” from “The Crimson Idol”.

Breathe
A derivative version of “Forever Free” merged with “Hold On To My Heart”.

In the end, the “Still Not Black Enough” album was just a perfect remedy for 1995.

W.A.S.P (and by default Blackie Lawless) may never be cool and Blackie may never be a tastemaker. I don’t expect to see W.A.S.P to have any hits on the top 40. However, what I do know is that when W.A.S.P puts out an album and goes on tour, there are fans there ready to listen and to attend.

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Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Great Misconceptions Of Me Are Hung In Black

I totalled my knee a couple of days ago playing over 35’s football/soccer. I should have brushed up on my physics equations and worked out how my injury ravaged knees would be able to stop a body that weights 100kg plus running at full speed and then change direction in an instant. Because that is what happened in a nutshell and what went down was a loud snap.

Suddenly I was on the ground in agony. I got up and limped off. I tried to get the feeling back in my lower left leg. The calve muscle started spasming. Nausea came and a cold sweat hit me. I steadied myself against the fence. Eventually, I returned from the land of confusion.

I drove home, iced it and as the hours ticked over, it started to get stiffer and sorer.

The next day I got X-rays done. Thank god there is no break or fracture. I now have an ultrasound to determine ligament damage or muscle tear or fluid build up. The doctor reckons the symptoms and the pain area is consistent with ligament damage.

This knee of mine has been a thorn in my side since 1995, which was the year I totalled it in two places playing football. Getting injured is a part of life, but man the mental scars are just tough. Recovery from an injury is hard especially when you are older and have responsibilities and kids.

You see, the injury happened at a point in my life where I felt happy and right now I don’t feel happy at all. Other factors have come into play to bring about this new low and all of these conditions when compounded together makes me realise how quickly happiness comes and goes.

When I am in these ruts, it feels like my last days on earth. That is how dark it gets. I ask myself over and over again, what is the point?

And as I am thinking these thoughts, “The Great Misconceptions Of Me” is playing in the headphones. For those that don’t know, it is the last song on “The Crimson Idol” concept album from the excellent Blackie Lawless, otherwise known as W.A.S.P.

While the song is dark in nature (the actual character of the story, Jonathan takes guitar strings and hangs himself), it somehow manages to lift me up.  At over nine minutes long, it’s not a song that would be played on the radio. Hell, in Australia, I have not heard not one WASP song on the radio.

One YouTube user called “pwnzerleet” has an mp3 of the song and it has close to 284,000 views. Another user called “crackpippi” has an acoustic version up and it has close to 140,000 views. “Waspqueen” has a user made video up of the song and it has 106,000 views. So even though the song isn’t a radio hit, it is a hit amongst the metal W.A.S.P heads.

“There is no love, to shelter me
Only love, love set me free”

That is what we are looking for. To be loved. That is why social media is popular amongst people. It gives us a sense of being loved. That is why we keep on picking ourselves up off the floor, relationship after relationship. We want to be loved and we want to love back. No one wants to be alone.

“I am no idol, no crimson king
I’m the imposter, the world has seen”

You see as we grow up in life we change a lot. The pressures of belonging and the fear of being ostracised or left out of the group are too great that we become imposters to the real people that we should be. I am evidence of that. I know exactly when I made those choices in life that lead me astray from the path called “Who I Want To Be”. The scary thing is that I have learned to live with and accept those choices which in turn leads to other choices that further seperates me from the main path.

Across the bridge of sighs
Your losing heaven’s light
Heavens hung in black

The above lyric is from the excellent “Heavens Hung In Black”. This song is a super hit. It is from 2007’s “Dominator” album.

YouTube user “ComeTakeMeHome” has a self-made clip of the song up and it has close to 1.24 million views. “WASPQueen” has it up and the video has close to 624,000 views.

The bridge of sighs once upon a time carried prisoners to their execution. It again reinforces the choices we make in life and the paths those choices lead us on. The further we deviate from the path we should be on, the closer we are to the bridge of sighs.

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