Golgotha, Napalm Records, W.A.S.P, 2015.
In a musical landscape now shaped by growling guttural vocals and drop-d tunings, it’s good to know that W.A.S.P. ignores trends and stays true to their melodic themselves. The band’s new album Golgotha is not 1984 W.A.S.P. nor is it The Headless Children, it’s Blackie Lawless and Co. moving forward and doing a damn good job at it and still sounding like, well, W.A.S.P.
W.A.S.P. are not trying to follow current trends, nor are they trying to harken back to the past. Golgotha stands strong on it’s own, that’s the main reason it’s getting so much appreciation (and rightfully so) in the metal community.
It had been 6 years since W.A.S.P.’s Babylon (2009). Since then Lawless has been through changes, finding god and deciding to cut out some of the band’s material from live performances due to his faith. The album’s title, Golgotha, is a reflection of changes in Lawless’s life. To give a bit of context, Golgotha is where Jesus Christ was crucified according to the gospels.
In the past few years he kept on the quiet side, with no major tour since 2012 (a tour was planned but cancelled due to a leg injury) and devoting a lot of time to creating Golgotha. Welcome back Blackie, it’s good to have you back.
Opener “Scream” sets the tone for what is to follow. A true in-your-face metal song like we have come to know and love W.A.S.P. for. The breakdowns are very effective, I must say.
The single “Last Runaway” was the first song I heard off Golgotha. It’s highly melodic and dare l say, poppy and best of all, it works. It sounds like W.A.S.P. doing dare I say it, Poison.
“Shotgun” is probably my least favourite song on the album,. Something about it fails to grab me .
“Miss You” is a slower-paced song. OK, you got me, it’s a ballad but a darn good one and very honest and heartfelt. At 7:41 it’s a journey and one of the album’s brightest moments.
“Fallen Under” is obscured by some of the longer and more epic titles but is a solid tune and gets better with each listen.
“Slaves of the New World” is a song that would have fitted very well on the Babylon album. Nice breakdown midway through the song and a very catchy chorus.
“Eyes of my Maker” is perhaps Lawless’ best vocal performance on Golgotha. Definitely a favourite, the songs takes the listener places. Excellent guitar work and solo.
“Hero of the World” is one the shortest song on the album. It’s on the mellow side during the verses and launches into a galloping, fast-paced rocker during the chorus. The title track is nothing short of an epic piece. The lyrics are very deep and I can imagine must mean a lot to Blackie, his vocal delivery is incredibly passionate. They also establish his Christian faith in a bold way he hasn’t done before. Regardless of faith, musically it’s an excellent song.
I have to hand it to Blackie Lawless, he takes a lot of flak for his beliefs and appearance these days, but he consistently delivers, especially in the vocal department. Lawless continues to explore and indulge in Christian themes as the title of the album implies (look it up). I wouldn’t go as far as saying Golgotha is a concept album but it is filled with religious references and could easily be interpreted as such. Fans shouldn’t worry about Blackie mellowing down due to his faith, W.A.S.P. remain a tight, uncompromising metallic unit.
Golgotha follows in the steps of Babylon and Dominator and has that similar approach/sound. Is it better? I’m more partial to Babylon but I think W.A.S.P. has effectively come out with one of the best metal releases of 2015 still delivering great music over thirty years later. 4/5 stars.