I remember having this self-titled cassette back in the 80’s, and for whatever reason the word on the street was the album was actually called Winged Assassins. I’m still not sure how that started but strangely enough W.A.S.P. later did an album called Double Live Assassins, so there must have been something to it.
This album was well overdue for a remastering. The original CD sounds tinny and weak, not at all like the way I remember it sounding originally. This CD fixes that. It also adds the bonus track “Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)” which fits right in. I guess Blackie wanted the track to open the album originally but cooler heads prevailed. Anyway, given the opportunity to do a remaster Blackie has restored that song to the beginning of the album as originally intended. The hit single “I Wanna Be Somebody” is now the second track.
If you’re a W.A.S.P. fan, then you already know and love this album and you’re not going to disagree with anything I say about these classic meat n’ metal toons. If you’re not a W.A.S.P. fan yet…well, grab hold of something bolted to the ground when you push play. Blackie & his original cohorts had the pedal to the metal all the way through this disc, with the exception of “Sleeping (In The Fire)”. That “ballad” had a powerful enough chorus to keep you going, even if the verses were too lightweight for us as kids.
But seriously though: “L.O.V.E. Machine”… “The Flame”… “B.A.D.” (enough with the abbreviations!)… “School Days”… everything on this album kicks. Hard, heavy, rated R and sometimes X.
But catchy! That’s the thing, really, isn’t it? Blackie has always said his prime influence was the Beatles. I don’t hear it myself, but he obviously learned a lesson or two about the construction of a melody. Blackie’s songs are memorable and melodic without once giving an inch, or sounding like anything less than heavy metal purity. Unfortunately my feeling is that later on, Blackie’s songs all sounded the same. On this first album, he was writing standouts and some would argue that he’s never reached these heights again.
Bonus material at the end includes the B-side “Show No Mercy” which I also have on a CD soundtrack for a movie called Dudes. Great song. Easily as good as the album. “Paint It, Black” is the only song that sucks. From the Tea Party, to Glen Tipton, Vanessa Carlton and Deep Purple, I’ve never heard a good cover of this song. W.A.S.P.’s is no different.
Packaging is awesome, loaded with cool pics, blood, and Blackie telling you how he sees things. If you’re a fan this remaster is a must. If you’re not yet, this is the logical place to start. It’s one of the few W.A.S.P. studio albums that I would consider essential (the other being Headless Children).