Rating:
10
W.A.S.P. - The Crimson Idol
1992


Disc I
01. Titanic Overture
02. Invisible Boy
03. Arena Of Pleasure
04. Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue)
05. Gypsy Meets The Boy
06. Doctor Rockter
07. I Am One
08. The Idol
09. Hold On To My Heart
10. The Great Misconceptions Of Me
11. The Story Of Jonathon [limited edition bonus]

Disc II [limited edition]
01. Phantoms In The Mirror
02. The Eulogy
03. When The Levee Breaks [Led Zeppelin cover]
04. The Idol [acoustic version] [live]
05. Hold On To My Heart [acoustic version] [live]
06. I Am The One [Live at Donnington 1992]
07. Wild Child [Live at Donnington 1992]
08. Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue) [Live at Donnington 1992]
09. I Wanna Be Somebody [Live at Donnington 1992]
10. The Invisible Boy [Live at Donnington 1992]
11. The Real Me [Live at Donnington 1992]
12. The Great Misconceptions Of Me [Live at Donnington 1992]


Generally regarded to be W.A.S.P.'s finest work, "The Crimson Idol" is a conceptual rock opera by a musician who once celebrated sex, drugs and hedonism like few others out of the L.A. glam scene. "The Crimson Idol" is not merely about style and appearance as often accused, for drama and theatrics belie surprisingly ambitious and unique compositions. A major difference to most metal concept albums, though quite common among operas, rock or no, is the album's use of leitmotifs. For instance, the famous extract "love to shelter me" represents the protagonist's recurring desire for his parent's acceptance. The leitmotifs do not, however, take up more space then necessary as all of the songs, save perhaps for the introducing medley of seIected "Idol" riffs amply named "The Titanic Overture", work quite well on their own.

The lyrics, the quality of which having gone up a lot with "The Headless Children", have become even better. There are references ranging from Edgar Allen Poe (okay, maybe it was just Iron Maiden after all) to Patti Smith and thoughtful metaphors resulting in the band's most powerful imagery yet (the band would outdo themselves in that regard on the underrated "K.F.D"). The individual performances are top notch as well. Session guitarist Bob Kulick makes his guitar weep like few others and the drumming duo Frankie Banali and Stet Howland litter the album with outright crazy and highly interesting tom-based fills.

In between the songs are acoustic interludes that are quite effective at conveying a sense of intimacy, despite the slightly detached story which most people (including me) will not really be able to relate to. Most of the material is not too far removed from the previous album even though there are a lot of keyboard and acoustic guitar passages. "Chainsaw Charlie" is delightfully over the top and rivalled only by the catchy, fist-pumping "I Am One" and the pounding "Arena Of Pleasure". The pace is lessened a bit with three ballads, including the epic title track, easily one of the best ballads ever written. It's atmospheric beginning is tastefully accentuated by a few guitar leads before the actual song, resolving largely on an acoustic chord progression and Lawless' touching vocals, sets in. But Kulick's two solos oozing over with emotion completely steal the show. A stark contrast is the following "Hold On To My Heart". It is a sweet song and the most understated one on the album, though so soft it will likely not appeal to everyone. Finally, the album closes with what was back then Lawless' most ambitious composition, the majestic "The Great Misconceptions Of Me".

With music this dramatic one might be a bit sceptical whether "The Crimson Idol" will indeed satisfy all tastes. It will. The album is so consistent and inspired and there is little else that sounds like it that anybody can risk a try. If it isn't the best heavy metal album of all time, it certainly gets close.


Band profile: W.A.S.P.
Album: The Crimson Idol


 


written by DayFly | 11.04.2009


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.



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quirin - 11.04.2009 at 01:45  
You're damn right, this is a wonderful masterpiece! One of the very best conceptual albums that's ever been recorded. I think Blackie never wrote anything more emotional, beautiful and perfectly coherent at the same time.

Special award to the solo on "The Idol", as well as the drums on "The Gypsy" (not to mention "Misconceptions", and all the rest). The only track that doesn't completely tear my heart is "Dr. Rockter"... maybe... but it's got its place too, so in the end, it's just absolute perfection all the way.

...And the 15th anniversary tour was one hell of a show I'll remember until my dying day. Long live...!
Doc Godin - 12.04.2009 at 00:51  
Uhhh, I guess we're totally overlooking over dry parts of albums in reviews now?
Lord_Regnier - 12.04.2009 at 01:17  
"The Crimson Idol" is by far the best W.A.S.P album, imo. A timeless great piece of art. Very emotional. It really worths being listened to at least one time in your life.
DayFly - 12.04.2009 at 01:30  
Written by Doc Godin on 12.04.2009 at 00:51

Uhhh, I guess we're totally overlooking over dry parts of albums in reviews now?


We are most certainly not. This is my review, if you disagree, why don't you write one yourself?
Lord_Regnier - 12.04.2009 at 01:47  
Personally, I think the review is absolutely on spot. It gives a good idea of what you can expect from this album.
DayFly - 12.04.2009 at 14:15  
Written by Lord_Regnier on 12.04.2009 at 01:47

Personally, I think the review is absolutely on spot. It gives a good idea of what you can expect from this album.


Thanks, I put a lot of effort into this one, it's great to have some positive feedback.
Doc Godin - 13.04.2009 at 01:52  
Written by DayFly on 12.04.2009 at 01:30

Written by Doc Godin on 12.04.2009 at 00:51

Uhhh, I guess we're totally overlooking over dry parts of albums in reviews now?


We are most certainly not. This is my review, if you disagree, why don't you write one yourself?

I do write plenty myself, and I can generally appreciate the fact that even some of my favourite albums have low points, which I think is the purpose of a review, to try and give a realistic, honest look at the album. Its a good album yes, but to say its devoid of any weak moments would be a little untrue.
DayFly - 13.04.2009 at 01:56  
Well I wouldn't know about those. I've had this album for a very long time and it remains my favourite after all these years. I sincerly do not know what could possibly be wrong with it.
thewikkedone - 24.02.2010 at 03:35  
There's nothing wrong with it . It is by far a masterpiece . I agree with everything you said and anyone who's just finding WASP will find this review truley helpful . Great Job !!!!!!!
Angelic Storm - 24.02.2010 at 10:04  
It's a great, if slightly overrated album. The only real gripe I have with it, is some sections being rehashed in other songs. Making some songs not sound as individual as they could be. I also think leaving ''Phantoms In The Mirror" off the album proper was a big mistake. Its part of the story for one, and is actually better than some songs on the actual album.

Now, with criticsms out of the way, I'll get onto the things I love about this album. For one, it contains the awesome ''Chainsaw Charlie" which is probably not only W.A.S.P.'s greatest song, it's also one of metal's all time classics! The story is very well written by Blackie, and the lyrics definitely pull you in. Other songs I love are ''The Gypsy And The Boy'', the beautiful "Hold On To My Heart" and the melodramtic closer "The Great Misconeptions Of Me".

I had the pleasure of seeing this album performed in full live a couple of years ago, and it was definitely one of the most memorable concert experiences Ive ever had. It is definitely a classic album, which I feel is only usurped in W.A.S.P.'s discography by the monster that is ''The Headless Children".

But, I largely agree with your review, and it is without doubt one of metal's classic concept albums.
Valentin B - 13.04.2010 at 18:14  
Written by Angelic Storm on 24.02.2010 at 10:04

For one, it contains the awesome ''Chainsaw Charlie" which is probably not only W.A.S.P.'s greatest song

that title is most definitely reserved for "Wild Child"... not saying this ain't a damn good album, but give credit where it's due
DayFly - 24.04.2010 at 18:08  
I am quite sure I graded this album by a 9.9. Not that I want to nitpick or that it indeed matters but I would like to at least be notified if someone changes my reviews in the future.
!J.O.O.E.! - 21.06.2010 at 00:59  
Written by DayFly on 24.04.2010 at 18:08

I am quite sure I graded this album by a 9.9. Not that I want to nitpick or that it indeed matters but I would like to at least be notified if someone changes my reviews in the future.

The same thing happened to one of mine, and I think I've noticed some of the staff (or ex staff) reviews change score by .1 - an odd phenomenon.

Seriously excellent review by the way.
Pap - 16.07.2010 at 13:33  
I just saw your review. To me this is the best album that has (and apparently will ) ever been released. Great review!!!
stocktonrocks - 08.08.2010 at 02:50  
Probably my 2nd favorite W.A.S.P. album, Blackie sings amazingly on this cd and the drumming is top notich. Out of all the rock concept albums that have been released, this is tied for my favorite along with Queensryche: Operation Mindcrime.
Valentin B - 09.03.2011 at 00:07  
I've been denying it for far too long, but this indeed is one of those few albums out there who get as close to perfection as you could possibly want. the emotion in this one is just overwhelming, especially in the many ballads of the album. that doesn't mean it doesn't deliver in terms of all-out metal madness like Arena of Pleasures or I Am One. and i can't believe how good Kulick's soloing is on this damned record.. he's a producer by carreer but still destroys over 99% of all lead guitarists out there with his ungodly brain-exploding work on this album alone.

but the best moment on this CD (and one of the defining moments of heavy metal in general) is of course the middle section of Chainsaw Charlie (Murders in the New Morgue).. after one the most epic and awesome rhythm changes ever written comes that pants-shitting riff, and then the total pwnage moment:

"I'm the president of showbiz, my name is Charlie
I'm a cock sucking asshole, that's what they call me
Here from my Hollywood tower I rule
I'm lying motherfucker, the chainsaw's my tool"

BAM. pants are shat, hairs are standing upright and minds are blown by the incredible sheer epic awesomeness of it all. the rhythm of that track is absolutely fucking crazy, if that won't make you headbang or sing along i don't know what will.

enough said. excellent review too dude. My only real problem with the album is that the second track has that slightly "happy" main riff which doesn't fit with that part of the story, but that means one thing: in an hour-long record, the only problem is ONE riff.. that says something about the quality of this album.
Shadowfall - 17.02.2012 at 10:25  
Good old days.......................

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