Many devoted W.A.S.P. fans have now been working themselves up about just which direction Lawless and co. are going in. Are they ever going to return to the vicious roots of their 1984 debut effort? Are they going to attempt to hit the charts as successfully as with “The Crimson Idol”? Or are they simply going down a creative slump? Well, ever since Lawless converted to Christianity, it seems like the beast within has been taken out-assassinated, wiped from the earth,etc. There was only partial evidence of this on “Dominator” and “Babylon”, but the idea of having a complete lack of danger in your sound seems all the more rife in 2015’s “Golgotha”, an album which has reportedly taken six years for Lawless and his bandmates to craft.
Now, far from it for me to suggest that “Golgotha” is a boring album-it really isn’t. Yes, it’s safe, but it’s also mostly fun to kick back and relax, rather than trying to listen out for the first swear word and hoping Lawless has that reckless sneer he strongly developed 30 years ago. Well sorry folks, but that really is a thing of the past, because “Golgotha” almost represents a new form of W.A.S.P.,one which has evidently lost its sting but somehow still leaves a mark. For one thing, this album is a strong representation of Lawless’ excellent songwriting ethic. However, this only really affects five songs out of nine, and once the album has ended, you get the feeling that maybe it’s time for the band to simply stop. The first two songs-‘Scream’, ‘Last Runaway’-are evidently charged by a keyboard-driven riff which fully encompasses Lawless’ still youthful vocal delivery and mid-paced energy. On these two songs, Lawless almost sounds energetic and completely in his comfort zone at the same time-hence why the album is safe more than anything else. The latter even verges on pop and melodic rock territory, and for once you can almost believe that this may be Lawless’ re-entry into the mainstream world of metal. The accessibility of songs like the aforementioned and ‘Hero of the World’ all essentially bring to mind W.A.S.P.’s devotion to strong build-ups into heavier territory, though at times listeners won’t feel the energy in the same way. It’s almost as if this album was written to prove to the band themselves they could still perform solidly, rather than the fan-base.
Now the flaws here are strikingly obvious. The album is too long, with at least half of the tracks teetering over the seven minute mark, and the shortest song being just under five minutes. This isn’t anything new (“Babylon” had the same set-up more or less), but it unfortunately affects “Golgotha” in more negative ways than positive. Just take ‘Shotgun’ for example, which gets bring after one single minute. For that first minute, you can enjoy Lawless’ nice, laidback vocal range and keyboard-drenched background, but once the chorus kicks in, you strongly realize W.A.S.P. just don’t have creativity in their grasp any-more. Nor do they need it however, because they haven’t got anything to prove. The album’s central ballad (though a lot of songs here are rife with cringeworthy balladry), ‘Miss You’ is too long AND too soppy for its own good, as if Lawless deciding to repeat the song’s title over and over again was more of a musical apology to his other half rather than a ballad destined to impress the fan-base. And of course, there’s ‘Fallen Under’, which drags on for five minutes rather than drives along the highway.
Basically, “Golgotha” is a disappointment for some and affirmation for others. Disappointment will strike those who expected W.A.S.P. to bring a heavier sound which is more in keeping with the band’s early days. Affirmation will be for those who expected a lighter version of “Babylon”, and one that is longer too. But what does it do for Lawless and his bandmates? It makes them feel at ease that they can still put out albums and deliver live performances as if they’d never left the early 90s behind. In all reality, W.A.S.P. are at the stage now where, in order to fully understand their musical output, you’d have to see them live-because albums like “Golgotha” aren’t quite enough evidence of their strongest material. You basically have to see the band in the flesh to really get to grips with why they still have a cult following.
Released: October 2nd, 2015
- Last Runaway
- Miss You
- Fallen Under
- Slaves of the New World Order
- Eyes of My Maker
- Hero of the World