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Classic Review: W.A.S.P. - The Crimson Idol
The Crimson Idol

Label: Demolition Records
Year released: 1992
Duration: 57:52
Tracks: 10
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 5/5

Review online: March 6, 2009
Reviewed by: Hermer Arroyo
Readers Rating
The Crimson Idol

Rated 4.87/5 (97.38%) (61 Votes)

Since their humble beginnings in 1982 on the Sunset Strip, W.A.S.P.'s sole aim was to shock the audience, be it by performing outrageous stage shows, throwing rotten meat at the crowd or singing about getting laid. Ten years later they will shock the world again by releasing this monster of an album. You see, the thing that makes this so surprising is the level of maturity Blackie Lawless displays on this record. Gone are the party vibes that made this band famous, completely evolving into a different band.

Traces of this were beginning to appear on their previous album The Headless Children, but here it is a full on assault. The Crimson Idol is a concept album that many people say resembles the life of Lawless. I wouldn't go that far, but you can see why people make that comparison. Now making an album of this caliber requires a great storyline and Lawless makes one to remember. Compelling in every way possible, dealing with the subject of fame and the price of it, the lyrics must be read to fully get the effect. The voice acting is very good, giving details in the life of the main character Jonathan.

Every single song is a highlight, advancing the story as much as required and kicking plenty of ass in the process. From the fist note of "The Titanic Overture" to the last note on "The Great Misconception of Me", Lawless delivers a songwriting clinic that will leave his contemporaries choking in the dust. Another thing that I love about the album are the acoustic passages, which are just beautiful.

The musicianship on this album is at an all-time high. W.A.S.P. never sounded this good and I doubt that they ever will again. Drummers Frankie Banali and Stet Howland, who never sounded this technical and good; I didn't know they had this type of ability until now. Bob Kulick (brother of longtime KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick) delivers the majority of the guitar leads on the record and they sound extremely good. Never overshadowing the songs, his tasteful leads complement the songs perfectly.

This leads me to the star of the show, Mr. Blackie Lawless. Besides writing the lyrics and composing the album, he plays lead, rhythm and acoustic guitars, bass, keyboards and is the lead singer. His performance here leaves me in awe, as I didn't realize that he was such a good musician and singer. Yes singer!!! he always displayed a raspy tone on his early albums, but here he proves he can actually sing - just listen to "Hold on to my Heart" and "The Idol".

The Crimson Idol is the best concept album ever, as no other manages to make a better story or keep my attention as this one. It stands head and shoulders above anything W.A.S.P. has ever done until this day. This may be the longest review I've ever made, but this album is more than worth it. Essential to every single metal fan, this is a classic for all times.

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