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A lengthy text on the press sheet accompanying this promo, written by W.A.S.P. mainman Blackie Lawless himself, reveals he commenced writing/recording 'Babylon' in February this year, observing that it was in the midst of our current "global financial meltdown". He then proceeds to pessimistically, and I guess to a degree apocalyptically, draw a parallel between world leaders' discussions of a one-world system and one-world currency as "similar to the biblical predictions of a one-world government and the rise of a global leader", then begins discussing the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. It is at that point I listened, for the first time, to the music on 'Babylon', now with expectations of a somewhat dark offering from the Californian metal veterans on their latest studio offering, their fourteenth full-length release to date. Far from dark in its aesthetic, the music is mainly up-tempo, melodically invigorating classic W.A.S.P. with a couple of epically bombastic rock ballads thrown into the mix ('Into the Fire' and 'Godless Run'). With the album also featuring two cover versions - Deep Purple's 'Burn' (recorded during the 'Dominator' sessions) and Chuck Berry's 'Promised Land' - there's only just over 35 minutes of new material on 'Babylon', but it's fortunately a musically worthy addition to W.A.S.P.'s canon of work. Well produced and adeptly performed, this is a mightily fine slab of good old rock/metal fun. Lawless is in fine voice throughout, and Doug Blair's lead guitar work is truly great with some exhilarative playing. Proceedings end on a lighter note (and I guess a little ironic too considering the album's general thematic stance) with the aforementioned Chuck Berry cover, a metalled-up version of the track that works well, with Lawless acknowledging Elvis Presley's affiliation with the song, impersonating the rock 'n' roll legend over the outro. At the age of 53, Lawless once again reasserts his worth as a metal icon with 'Babylon' proving he is still capable of composing and making infectiously catchy up-tempo music. Having caught the band's set this year at the Swedish Rock Weekend festival, I can also report that they remain an engaging and exciting live act in the contemporary scene. And 'Babylon' is most definitely worthy of your pennies. Go buy now.
Review by Mark Holmes
12th Oct 2009
1) Crazy
2) Live To Die Another Day
3) Babylon's Burning
4) Burn
5) Into the Fire
6) Thunder Red
7) Seas of Fire
8) Godless Run
9) Promised Land
"...mainly up-tempo, melodically invigorating classic W.A.S.P...."