Sunday, December 17, 2006

WASP-Inside the electric circus, 1986

This is my last twenty year album review of this year so next month I will begin the first of twelve 1987 albums

Background-This was the band's third album and came just about a year after the Last Command. Guitarist Randy Piper had been fired and Blackie Lawless switched to playing rhythm guitar and hired King Kobra bass player Johnny Rod to complete the line-up.

Initial reaction-I first heard this album when it came out in late 1986. I thought it was decent, but not as good as the self-titled debut or The Last Command. So let's give it a listen and see how it holds up.

1-The big Welcome:A spoken introduction that makes it sound like you are going to the circus.
2-Inside the electric circus-The title track is medium fast and very direct. The guitars are simple but work well and it's one of those tracks where Blackie makes good use of his big voice.
3-I don't need no doctor-To me WASP have always been like the kings of cover songs. No exception here as they make the song their own and go with it.
4-95 Nasty-Not bad, but kind of feels like the vocals are the focus and I remember very little about the music once the track ends.
5-Restless Gypsy- A medium fast tracks with a big steady beat. Very typical of this band, but extremely tight and memorable.
6-Shoot from the hip-Starts out with a simple riff and slows down a little after that. The chorus is a bit silly. There are some good licks from Chris Holmes here and I like how the pace kind of drifts back and forth rather than making a direct pace change.
7-I'm Alive-The music comes on sounding like a gallop with one riff pulling away from it. It's an interesting song with a different style of song structure and it works for them.
8-Easy Living-Another cover track and this time it's Uriah Heep. They easily transform it into a metal song and add their own touches.
9-Sweet Cheatah- It has very much the sound of other songs here, but does little to set itself apart. Considering it's over five minutes long, they really needed to do more to keep people's attention. Just an alright song.
10-Mantronic-Like the previous track it's not memorable enough. Not bad at all, but once the album is done you will have to really try to remember what went on during this song. The solo was pretty good though.
11-King of Sodom and Gommorah-They are trying harder on this track as the music stands out a bit more. Maybe even a bit odd in the music down the stretch, but it keeps things interesting.
12-The rock rolls on-This track roars on at a steady pace. A great choice for the closer because it's energetic, strong and you will remember it. The solo is simple, but I love the tone of it.

Verdict/Final Word-This one has gotten a little better over the years. It's not as good as the first two albums, but it's a good album that I still listen to quite often. It may not have broke a lot of ground after The Last Command, but it was solid enough and the band were soon going to get way better. My biggest complaint is that they lost some steam towards the end of the album with Sweet Cheetah and Mantronic almost being filler tracks. I think the album could have been stronger if those two tracks were left off and b-side Flesh and fire was inserted instead. The thing I have always like about WASP is that they kind of bridge the gap between hard rock and metal. They always the group chorus thing going and the kind of hooks that were popular in hard rock. Yet they weren't afraid to play heavy, play odd arrangements and Blackie Lawless' rough yet powerful vocals were all more metal in style. So a good album overall and one that holds up fairly well. This was the first time I have written one of these long reviews at the same time I am listeing to it on the computer. It worked pretty well and yes that does mean that I was listening to WASP at 7:30 this morning.

**Next months twenty year old album review will be Lizzy Borden's visual Lies as they defeated Dokken and Faster Pussycat in the vote for a review.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you're dead on with your review. I do think that this was one of the best versions of WASP through the years. Johnny Rod was awesome on Bass as well as backing vocals. Blackie on guitar didn't seem to change anything for me. I think the band could go on forever as long as he is on vocals.

11:40 AM  

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