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Album Review

With glam rock making a comeback of sorts in 1984 (Mötley Crüe, Ratt, etc.), another Los Angeles band, W.A.S.P., couldn't have picked a better time to release its self-titled debut. By merging lyrics that dealt with the expected heavy metal themes (sex, Satanism, etc.) alongside Blackie Lawless' rough vocals and Chris Holmes' guitar riffing, the band sounded and looked more menacing than your average L.A. glam band at the time. Add to it a stage show that was gimmick-heavy (Lawless would drink blood from a skull and rip open a pillow, while wearing buttless leather pants and saw blades on his arms), and you had a "can't miss" recipe for controversy and publicity — resulting in the debut's eventual gold certification. The album contains most of their best-known tracks, such as the raging singles/videos "I Wanna Be Somebody" and "L.O.V.E. Machine," plus the anti-establishment "School Daze," the semi-ballad "Sleeping (In the Fire)," and the angst-filled anthems "The Flame," "Hellion," "On Your Knees," and "Tormentor." [The 1998 CD reissue contains three bonus tracks, including a cover of the Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black," as well as their overtly sexual early fan fav, "Animal (F**k Like a Beast)."]


Formed: Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the heavier bands to come out of the early-'80s L.A. metal scene, W.A.S.P. quickly rose to national infamy thanks to their shock rock image, lyrics, and live concerts. Unfortunately, once the novelty and scandal began to wear off, the band found it difficult to expand, or even maintain, their audience by relying only on their music. Leader Blackie Lawless (bass/vocals) was already a rock & roll veteran when he relocated to the West Coast and founded W.A.S.P. with guitarists Chris Holmes...
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W.A.S.P., W.A.S.P.
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