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W.A.S.P - 1984 W.A.S.P

LABEL: Capitol
SERIAL: ST-12343
YEAR: 1984
CD REISSUE: 1990, Capitol (USA), C2-46661


LINEUP: Blackie Lawless - bass, vocals * Chris Holmes - guitars * Randy Piper - guitars * Tony Richards - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 I Wanna Be Somebody * 02 L.O.V.E Machine * 03 The Flame * 04 B.A.D * 05 School Daze * 06 Hellion * 07 Sleeping (In The Fire) * 08 On Your Knees * 09 Tormentor * 10 The Torture Never Stops


W.A.S.P.'s debut very much epitomises the state of heavy metal in the US in the early to mid 80's, extremely traditional with large helpings of theatrics and the inclusion of material that could be construed as mildy commercial, yet always heavy. W.A.S.P had been on the cuff of success for years prior to their debut, Ace Frehley had recorded demos of the band which were key in gaining their record deal, as were their notorious stage antics which included various excesses, usually involving semi clad women, blood and entrails, all details well known to seasoned metal buffs. Obtaining Iron Maiden's shrewd management team was perhaps the smartest move by Blackie Lawless which resulted in a major label deal with Capitol. The above lineup was the final version after years of personnel changes, among the casualties Don Costa, well known for his one time duties with Ozzy Osbourne and Nikki Buzz (M-80), Costa ousted after an alleged altercation with towering Chris Holmes, the former Mr Lita Ford..

The Songs
Although the debut had been preceded by the infamous 'Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)' single, this is as impressive a debut that has ever existed in the annals of metal history, and despite some worthy follow ups Lawless has yet to better it. The reckless opening attack of 'I Wanna Be Somebody' is a fine introduction to W.A.S.P's agenda, pulverising galloping riffs that followed in the tradition of early Motley Crue, before they lost their edge. 'L.O.V.E. Machine' adds a decisive melodic hook, while still retaining the crunch, and the production by Mike Varney is reminiscent of his work with Steeler, Keel and Racer X naturally. Every track is a ready made anthem and the sheen of 'The Flame' and 'B.A.D.' indicate the band had probably been sitting on them for years prior to recording. Where W.A.S.P. excel are the primordial metal tracks such as 'The Torture Never Stops', 'On Your Knees' , Tormenter' and 'Hellion', which are easily on the same level as Iron Maiden or Judas Priest by 1984 standards. Legendary is one word to describe, savage another, but most importantly heavy as hell, always with melody that has stood the test of time.

In Summary
Included on a reissue of the album some years back was bonus track 'Show No Mercy' which blew me away on first listen and contains the line 'white anglo saxon' which many believe the first three initials of the bands name stood for. Further albums contained helpings of excellent material, namely 'The Last Command' and 'The Headless Children', and the bands latter day efforts haven't been too shoddy themselves, 1999's 'Helldorado' perhaps their best and the last to feature the wayward Holmes. But to hear how metal should be handled this will always be a textbook showcase. Sales wise it fared excellently and made W.A.S.P. household names in metal, which continues to hold up well for Lawless in 2006.

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#1 | sabace on April 03 2008 19:11:46
I love this LP even though I think the production is pretty muddy, but the hooks and Blackie's voice come through!
#2 | Eric on October 17 2009 21:41:29
I have a friend who saw WASP at 'First Avenue' (Prince's pseudo club- 'Purple Rain' ) here in MPLS and the following night saw them in Rochester, MN at the Mayo Civic Center. Both Metallica and Armored Saint supported them at both shows, and I still beat myself up for passing by these concerts....
#3 | reyno-roxx on October 18 2009 10:05:18
Saw W.A.S.P. on their first UK tour with Wrathchild supporting in Birmingham and at the Dominion in London. Mainly went to see Wrathchild, truth told, and it was hilarious at that Birmingham gig when Rocky Shades came close to setting W.A.S.P.'s logo alight by holding a burning axe rather too close to it for comfort.
#4 | super80boy on January 22 2016 22:49:41
W.A.S.P. are really in their element with the menacing and powerful 'On Your Knees' and 'Tormentor', great stuff! The big chants on 'L.O.V.E. Machine' turned it into a most popular song in their catalogue. The one slow song 'Sleeping (In The Fire)' isn't that bad either. Props for an action packed album jacket on both sides, plus a killer inner sleeve.

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