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W.A.S.P. - "Golgotha" (CD)

W.A.S.P. - "Golgotha" CD cover image

"Golgotha" track listing:

1. Scream
2. Last Runaway
3. Shotgun
4. Miss You
5. Fallen Under
6. Slaves of the New World Order
7. Eyes of My Maker
8. Hero of the World
9. Golgotha

Reviewed by on October 21, 2015

"From start to finish, 'Golgotha' is bewitching in its ability to coerce the listening time from just about anything else."

Outside of a little flirtation with a Marilyn Manson-esque gothic/industrial style in 1997 and a follow-up rebound attempt at recapturing the mid-80’s sound in 1999 (which some of us didn’t think too shabby even if not within the established sound), it is incredibly rare to find a band with more consistently great material than W.A.S.P.

With such an amazing history that started with a buzz saw codpiece and culminated with vocalist/guitarist Blackie Lawless finding God, the band has rifled forth some of the best metal a fan can shove in his/her ears. It was hard to see the endless parade of “Fat Blackie Can’t Sing” memes that made rounds around social media, as the man is too good to be reduced to demeaning. So what did he do? He responded with what is arguably W.A.S.P.’s greatest album since “The Crimson Idol” – and as time moves on, it could very well eclipse it. Please, fight me on it.

Those seem like tall words from a writer that holds albums deemed “lessor quality” in high regard at the complete besmirching of others. It’s alright, when time passes and people look back with the benefit of hindsight, my conscience will be clean when I refer those interested back to those moments of jotting down my thoughts at the time they were fresh, and with a benefit of foresight. From 2001’s “Unholy Terror” to 2009’s “Babylon,” W.A.S.P. has blazed a trail of old – receiving near universal praise over six releases. All of that praise is well deserved…but they pale in comparison to the engaging and melodious thunder that is “Golgotha.” However, it still seems Blackie cannot shake the buzzsaw codpiece/P.M.R.C. days to get any real respect as a musician from the majority of the metal masses.

“Golgotha” has the uncanny ability to mix 80’s W.A.S.P. at its best (“Last Runaway,” “Scream,” “Shotgun”) and merge it “Lawlessly” with that of the second era (from “The Headless Children” through “Still Not Black Enough”) on tracks like “Slaves of the New World Order,” “Fallen Under” and “Miss You,” three tracks that have received countless listens since your author played the album for the first time. From start to finish, “Golgotha” is bewitching in its ability to coerce the listening time from just about anything else. Even if you don’t get that feeling from the start….the realization should abruptly strike you as you unwittingly make it to the 100th pass. Capping it off with the near 8 minute opus “Golgotha” – Blackie emotes it best: “Tell me where I’m going now…Ooh am I lost or found….Are you who they say…Are you who they claim….oh, remember me…Say a little prayer somehow…Show me where I’m bound…God I’m falled…The bells are tolling…Just remember me, my name, my name.” And remember it….we shall!

In terms of sound, the album is impeccable. The engineering team of drummer Michael Dupke, Mark Zavon (Kill Devil Jill) and Jun Murakawa and mixmaster Logan Mader (who also mixed/mastered “Babylon”) make this such an enjoyable listen on top of its brilliant songwriting. Doug Blair’s leads are incredibly constructed and I love the way some of them ridge right alongside Blackie’s vocals. Dupke’s drum work is stellar, sounding powerful and slightly raw without that under-produced feel. It’s hard to imagine this album sounding any better.

There is an old sarcastic saying my dad used to repeat when opening a door for someone: “Age before beauty.” When it comes to W.A.S.P. no matter how much Blackie ages….no matter how much people slag him for his weight, his ideals, his beliefs…the man is a musical genius. Over the years, few have had the golden combination of both longevity and quality of material. Whether W.A.S.P. chooses to sing about sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll, wonderfully captivating conceptual tales, or deep reflective meanings…it is always distinctive and beautiful. This time with “Golgotha” it’s perfect.

Highs: W.A.S.P.'s finest album since "The Crimson Idol" - that says it all.

Lows: None.

Bottom line: Have those "fat Blackie can't sing" memes reached your social media yet? Well, "Golgotha" should shut everyone up with its perfection.

Rated 5 out of 5 skulls
5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)