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W.A.S.P.: Golgotha

Now 33 years into their career, US heavy metal band W.A.S.P. show no signs of slowing down and now find themselves on Napalm Records for their 15th album, Golgotha. Named after the hill that Jesus Christ was crucified on, Golgotha doesn't break any new ground for the band nor offer any surprises, but if it's the highly melodic metal anthems from Blackie Lawless & Co. you crave, this album won't disappoint.

While the days of the 'shock metal' are long gone with this band, their sound overall hasn't changed much since the '80s. Blackie's commanding pipes are still in fine form, and while making the switch from bass to rhythm guitar quite a few years ago, he's got a pretty talented lead guitarist by his side in the form of Doug Blair, who tosses in plenty of tasty solos on catchy hard rockers like "Scream", "Shotgun", and "Last Runaway". Rounding out the line-up are drummer Mike Dupke and bassist Mike Duda, both solid musicians who hold down the groove quite nicely. The near 8-minute "Miss You" is an emotional ballad, complete with haunting Hammond organ, searing lead guitar work, and Blackie's anguished vocals, and the other lengthy track, "Slaves of the New Order", might be the most adventurous of the lot, a powerful cut filled with beefy riffs and layers of effective vocals, easily one of the most progressive songs on the album and probably the best. The moody title track closes things out, another emotional ballad (probably a few too many of those here) that again features a stellar vocal from Lawless and more tasty guitar solos, plus that silky Hammond organ, which seems to permeate many of the tunes here on Golgotha.

Honestly, I wasn't expecting much of Golgotha, as W.A.S.P for my money have always been a band that peaked very early on and haven't been overly relevant for many years, but overall this is a pretty solid album. A few too many ballads perhaps, which knock a half point off my score, but half this album is indeed very good, and sure to please longtime fans. The casual fan will be happy to know there's enough here to recommend a few listens.

Track Listing

  1. Scream
  2. Last Runaway
  3. Shotgun
  4. Miss You
  5. Fallen Under
  6. Slaves Of The New World Order
  7. Eyes Of My Maker
  8. Hero Of The World
  9. Golgotha

Added: October 28th 2015
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 3365
Language: english

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W.A.S.P.: Golgotha
Posted by Steven Reid, SoT Staff Writer on 2015-10-28 17:07:28
My Score:

It would appear that myself and my colleagues are pretty much coming from the same place here. My own personal jumping off point with Blackie Lawless's band was the supremely awful Kill Fuck Die, although I'll concede that I stuck it out that long as much in hope, as expectation. However with Golgotha, Blackie has (reasonably abstractly) used the inspiration of his experiences going from real metal mutha' to born again Christian, to create a tale that has inspired his best collection of songs in a long, long time.

Golgotha is still WASP and amazingly after all these years, within mere seconds you already know you couldn't be listening to anyone else. In itself that's something to pay respect to, however with the opening salvo of "Scream", "Last Runaway" and "Shotgun" you don't need to rely on platitudes or nostalgia to feel the love for this band. Instead this album feels powerful and fervently passionate in its delivery, as do Blackie's vocals and lyrics. This isn't an album preaching or pontificating, but it is one that asks questions, shows alternatives and highlights a journey. You may or may not have an affinity with the message behind it, but it sure as hell (no pun intended) is engaging and cleverly pieced together. However with Doug Blair (now into his third stint with the band) giving a superb, if faithful to the well established WASP sound, performance on guitar and Mike Duda providing a rock sold bass base, this isn't a one man show. Even if the press release doesn't bother to reveal who provides the excellent drumming on the album (it was Mike Dupka, who recently departed the band after nine years service).

Admittedly the initial high standard doesn't quite continue to be met for the album's entirety, however nothing slips below excellent and whether through the slow atmospherics of "Miss You", the pulsating hit of "Slaves Of The New World Order" or "Golgotha" itself, there's not a dud in sight. Although the reliance on almost all of the nine tracks in employing a slow building introduction before the main song's theme kicks in, does cause some of the tracks to lose a little of their initial impact after a few spins.

However there are few nits to pick on Golgotha and many reasons to celebrate. Not least that WASP suddenly sound more vital and invigorated than they have for many a year.

W.A.S.P.: Golgotha
Posted by Simon Bray, SoT Staff Writer on 2015-10-12 05:33:59
My Score:

I have genuinely just said the following to a work colleague, "It's about thirty years since I last said this…but the new W.A.S.P. album is really good." I believe the last time I had a similar thought was with The Last Command album but Golgotha is much, much better than that and anything else released under the W.A.S.P. moniker as far as I am concerned. I wouldn't disagree with a word of Pete Pardo's review above other than the score as I really like the album.

Each song is a winner, especially the opening quartet of "Scream", "The Last Runaway", "Shotgun" and the frankly immense "Miss You". That isn't to say that the second half of the album isn't a winner with the seven minute plus "Slaves of the New World Order" giving guitarist Doug Blair a chance to stretch his wings – a chance which he grabs confidently. As Pete suggests, "highly melodic metal anthems," are the (ahem, New World) order of the day and it is good to see a heritage act making one of their best albums so late in the career.

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