Chapter 2 of Blackie Lawless' latest opus has just been released and it is a continuation along the same lines musically as the first. Guitarist Darrell Roberts not only manages to kick some serious guitar ass on the CD, but he is very involved in the production of the piece. Originally I was hesitant at his replacing Chris Holmes who I am so used to even a couple of years after his departure, however, hearing these now three albums he has done with the band and seeing them live makes me say what a great addition he is to the lineup. He is a commanding presence onstage as well.
Also returning for the new album is bassist Mike Duda and drummer Stet Howland. The credits list Stet as being the sole drummer /percussionist on the piece, however there are internet interviews with former session man and Quiet Riot great Frankie Banali that lead us to believe he was simply deleted from the credits and is present on the recordings. Blackie has not countered this claim to my knowledge.
So this CD, while very good, does really require you listen to the first half in order to fully absorb and appreciate the tale Blackie is spinning for you. The first half spoke of Jessie Slane's rise to his status as the Neon God. This time is the fall of this very same character. The highlight tracks so far seem to be "Ressurrection", "Tear Down The Walls", "The Last Redemption" and "Come Back To Black". To me they captured the quintessential W.A.S.P. feel. Blackie has been one of those performers who is lucky enough to have his voice stay in the same power and his song-writing skills have improved over the years. This tale itself would make a good metal movie I think.
I did like this record as I am generally prone to do for W.A.S.P. material, however, I did have some minor criticisms. There are no pictures of the band in the booklet and I think that given WASP is still such a visual band it would have been good to showcase the current lineup. All the lyrics are inside as well as the continued storyline which helps one conclude the tale started by the first part on "The Rise" which was released early in the Summer. I also had some reservations on the decision to make this a two-parter, as I have noticed a trend in people buying CD's of their favorite bands these days and few are willing to continually take a chance. W.A.S.P. fans are a legion and perhaps would buy it no matter what, but I feel the unschooled new fan might only buy one and pass on the other. In any event this is a must have for the ardent fan and make sure you go to see them live since the group still kicks ass.
1. Never Say Die
3. The Demise
4. Clockwork Mary
5. Tear Down The Walls
6. Come Back To Black
7. All My Life
8. Destinies To Come (Neon Dion)
9. The Last Redemption