W.A.S.P. - Babylon (Demolition/Riot)

Look, I love nostalgia as much as the next old fart but I love it even more when a band shows me they’ve still got something fresh left in the tank. Ace Frehley surprised me with his latest, W.A.S.P. have just done the same. Pity about Kiss, but you can’t have everything can you?

When the opening chords of first track Crazy hit I seriously thought I had stepped back into Last Command-era W.A.S.P., and I had to check the band credits to make sure they hadn’t reunited the band!  But no, that didn’t happen, it's just that Blackie Lawless, erstwhile leader and the man who is W.A.S.P. has got his mojo back - and this album proves it. 

At only nine tracks, just over 40 minutes and with two covers, Deep Purple’s Burn and a Chuck Berry groover Promised Land, this is a short, powerful shot in the arm of “nostalgia” rock. It's proof that you don’t have to relive your past glories all the damn time, you don’t have to just roll out the old songs.  Sure it sounds like 80s era W.A.S.P., but it doesn’t sound dated and old, far from it. Instead, it sounds like a band with some balls, some belief and a hell of a lot of energy.

With former employee Doug Blair back on guitar, Mike Dupke joining in on drums and long term bassist Mike Duda still hanging in there and holding it all down, the band sounds fresh and keen, and Blackie hasn’t sounded this good in a while.  With the four horsemen of the apocalypse on the cover and song titles like Babylon’s Burning, Seas Of Fire, Godless Run and Live To Die Another Day, you know it's not an album about love and roses; but the,n neither is it back to the childish sex and silliness of the early days. That was funny when we were nineteen, but it does date.  This album, however, shows us a stronger, more mature and tougher outfit and that ain’t a bad thing at all.

This is mutha fucking, stereo-cranked-up driving music, with a beer tucked between your legs and a woman in a tight singlet sitting next to you as Blackie Lawless wails and the guitars burn. If the apocalypse is coming, I’m going to go out in style! Crank this baby up, wind down the damn windows and get on the road.

W.A.S.P.'s Babylon is out now on Demolition/Riot. If you want this, get it here.