W.A.S.P. - Helldorado review
01. Drive By
03. Don't Cry (Just Suck)
04. Damnation Angels
05. Dirty Balls
06. High On The Flames
07. Cocaine Cowboys
08. Can't Die Tonight
09. Saturday Night Cockfight
10. Hot Rods To Hell (Helldorado Reprise)
What an unlucky album "Kill, Fuck, Die" was. Not only did it lack well deserved praise, but the fan backlash to the band's experimentation made an all too eager to please Blackie Lawless reverse his creative direction way back to the band's roots, saying that Helldorado will sound exactly like the band's demos - and incidentally, it does. And even though "The Last Command" and "Winged Assassins" had their moments, in retrospect the band had already topped those albums by far at least twice. "Helldorado", however, had none of the energy and enthusiasm of the band's early days and after a series of albums with mature content, not even the die-hard fans of the early bloody stage show responded happily to an album about booze, sex and drugs. It's not the at times admittedly horrible lyrics (if you care all that much about the lyrics, read a book) - it's the simplicity and stupidity of the songs' topics that transforms into simple music.
In the past critics have accused the band for constantly rewriting and repackaging three songs. Though these accusations likely stem from the 80s where W.A.S.P. were still worthy of public concern and scorn, never have they been more true regarding this album. The whole album sounds pretty much like Blackie Lawless' screaming above some mid- or fast-paced three-chord rock. Some songs are better than others, for instance "High on the Flames" distinguishes itself through Chris Holmes' tasteful solo and "Damnation Angels", a bit slower than the other tracks, sets itself apart through it's menacing feel. The remaining tracks sound so similar that you'll be wondering if the album's closer is called a "Helldorado" reprise out of pure cynicism. Lastly, the lyrics come off as a juvenile joke to some (keep in mind the band members were well past 40) and as vulgar crap to others. Ultimately the album might be a fun listen if played by a bunch of young garage rockers simply having a helluva good time, but not if played by established musicians that had already shown they could do better.
|At this stage in the game, it was readily apparent what Blackie Lawless was capable of. Even in his hairiest days, he and W.A.S.P. could still pump out surprisingly dark tracks like "Widowmaker" and "Hellion" that would send your average Dokken or Def Leppard running for the hills. After the release of The Crimson Idol, one of the greatest metal albums ever recorded, Helldorado seems like blasphemy in comparison. This excruciating exercise in mediocrity seems to have escaped from Poison's "rejected" pile.
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