REVIEW: W.A.S.P. – W.A.S.P. (remaster)

WASP_0001W.A.S.P. – W.A.S.P. (1997 Snapper Classics, originally 1984)

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.

WASP_0003If 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).

4.5/5 stars

56 comments

  1. Been wondering about purchasing this for a while, good to know it sounds better than the original run! Would be interested to read your thoughts on Crimson Idol if you cna be bothered!

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    1. I was disappointed in Crimson Idol. I love the three singles and when I got the album, there was too much of a sameness from song to song. The drums in particular sound like the same drum fills over and over again.

      It’s not a bad album by any stretch but it’s nowhere near as good as Headless Children in my opinion!

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      1. Yes! Blackie seemed to have fallen in love with the Dm chord to the point of obsession! I still love my red vinyl copy though!!

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        1. Yup. Picked it up in HMV Cardiff a couple of days after they gigged there. Signed by Blackie too. In red ink, obviously.

          ‘Always thought the narrative track was superfluous cos, ya know, the lyrics pretty much told you all you needed to know!

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        2. There was another album with a similar track — Dio’s Magica. I don’t think either needed it. I’m kind of OCD about listening to an album start to finish, but those tracks make it hard!

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        3. I’m just glad that the WASP narration was the last track on the bonus disc and not shoved in between each song on the album!

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        4. Agreed. I did toy with picking up the digipack version from a couple of years ago (my copy is the jewel case one) but it felt extravagant buying an album I already own just because it ‘looked cooler’!

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        5. When I worked at the record store, I constantly “upgraded” to whatever packaging looked coolest. Now I tend to go mostly for musical content; if a digipack or deluxe version has no bonus music, I usually stick to the cheaper ones. Priorities change, you know?

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      2. I do agree on the drum part. And got even worse on Still Not Black Enough. But I believe that The Crimson Idol is nothing but a masterpiece.

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        1. Yeah Still Not Black Enough was very underwhelming. I have two copies of it because he had different tracks on different versions, and it just struck me as boring.

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        2. Well, Still Not Black Enough was badly produced, but I really like that album. It’s like a sister album to Crimson Idol in some ways. I think there are lots of great songs on it.

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    1. Rich, I would say Headless Children is essential. They covered a Townsend approved version of The Real Me and lyrically it was more topical. And really heavy! Frankie Banali was on drums for that one.

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        1. When that happens you can enjoy the excellent remasters with bonus tracks!

          By the way, the first three Zep will be reissued in 2014, but you will have to wait longer for the rest.

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        2. I never expected the entire Zeppelin catalog to be reissued as deluxe expanded editions in 2014. I assumed the project would begin this year and continue over the next couple of years, and I’m fine with that. Quality over quantity. Can’t wait to find out what the packages will consist of. I have plenty of excellent-sounding live boots from all of their tours, and I’m sure Jimmy has many of those shows in better sound quality. And my fingers are crossed for surround sound mixes.

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        3. Me too Rich. I have faith that Jimmy isn’t going to screw this up. He really seems excited and deeply invested in the project, and that’s encouraging.

          I remember seeing Men In Black all those years ago, and there was the scene with Tommy Lee Jones showing Will Smith all the new secret technology. “This is what’s going to replace the CD. Looks like I’ll have to buy the White album again.”

          We haven’t seen the CD replaced in that way depicted in the movie…but we keep re-buying anyway :)

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  2. I loved this back in the day, I had the cassette too, it was that sort of album, that sort of time I guess. Mrs 1537 saw them at Donnington Monsters of Rock, way back in medieval times …

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  3. I posted somewhere on Mikes blog before that this WASP album back in 84 filled a void for me that Kiss wasn’t filling..ie makeup,theatrics etc. so I was hooked and was lucky to see them open for Krokus and Helix that same yr in Winnipeg and it was a Spinal Tap show if I ever had seen….
    Helix when they were playing I think Vollmer got hit by the mic stand or a guitar and he had blood gushing all over the place but he still soldiered on thru Rock You!
    WASP the power went out on em after the third song and when there roadies began to take apart the stage the crowd booed and started throwing things so Blackie came back out shrugged his shoulders and they played on…
    KROKUS had a huge backdrop that had the cover of there current album the Blitz and it let go and smashed down behind the drummer basically scaring the shit out of him sending there song off the rails for a few seconds….
    Of all the shows I have ever seen ,never seen that happen to all 3 bands on one bill….
    But the debut was catchy…..

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    1. Krokus was headlining? Wow how things change!’

      Vollmer’s the kind of guy that would soldier on…I know you must have read Gimme An R. That guy has been through so much. A lesser mortal would have been killed!

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  4. I remember that before this album was even released, WASP were all over Sweden’s then only music magazine OKEJ, a mag that featured all kinds of different music (although pretty heavy on hard rock and metal) and they also wrote about movie and TV stars. So when this album was finally released, everybody and their mother knew who WASP were, although most people thought that the band were a bunch of freaks.
    Whatever, I love this album and I agree on everything you wrote in your review, Mike, except the Paint It Black part where I beg to differ. A lot. I think it’s a killer song originally, but WASP really nailed as far as making a cover of it. I think that Blackie is one of the greatest in the world when it comes to make a great cover. He’s been doing shitloads of them – Mississippi Queen, I Don’t Need No Doctor, Easy Living, The Real Me, When The Levee Breaks, Somebody To Love, Burn, Promised Land… All of them killers as far as I’m concerned.

    Also, another pretty funny story is that Yngwie Malmsteen is one of the lucky people who got hit right in the face by raw meat when he wasn’t paying attention. It was before this album got released and Yngwie had just moved to America to start working with Ron Keel and Steeler. Pretty funny that Yngwie even visitied a WASP gig, actually. He was pissed off as hell and was about to go kick Blackie’s ass. Just like he would have stood a chance doing that…

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    1. I do like Somebody To Love and The Real Me. I’m undecided on a few of the others.

      I’m glad we agree on this album though…it’s special to me. And I can’t believe I didn’t mention this in the review but W.A.S.P. was the first rock T-shirt I ever bought! I kept it, but it’s in a box.

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      1. Thing is, the more you listen to them, the less they sound like WASP. Personally, I think those albums is better than most of WASP’s albums. Especially Virus is a real killer. 10/10 to me.

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        1. Jon I will have to delve back into them. Thanks for the tip.

          Music is so subjective…like an impression can be based on so many things. Was I giving the music my full attention? Was I doing laundry or swearing at the computer for crashing? Hahah.

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        2. Well, when I listen to new stuff, I always give the albums three shots before shelving them. One time at home, with other stuff going on at the same time, just to hear if there’s something in there that I’d might like, one time through my headphones and one time while driving alone, full blast of course… ;-)
          I did that with the last Bon Jovi record and it still sucks, so I guess it really must suck. But with them I could have let go after the first listen at home…

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  5. W.A.S.P. Oh man, you’re really taking me back. I was 10 when this was released! I had a buddy who had the cassette, I remember him playing it on a crappy little boombox in his garage… but I don’t really remember much about it, after so long. Thanks to Lebrain for the descriptions and notes on the release! Kinda sad, though, isn’t it? To have people feel like your first album was your best one and you never hit those heights again? Ugh.

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    1. Hey Headless Children is a pretty good one too and I tend to waffle back and forth on them. Maybe next year I’ll say Headless is the best!

      It confused me that Sabbath released Headless Cross at the same time that Wasp released Headless Children!

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