Blackie Lawless and W.A.S.P. are back with album number 15 and the former shock-rocker’s songwriting skills are still scintillating – refined perhaps – but entrenched in the sound of the 80’s and utterly relevant in 2015.
With significantly less shock and more rock on display, opener “Scream” is W.A.S.P. defiantly playing to formula – this is no bad thing, a classic 80’s sounding W.A.S.P. song in 2015 is a retro joy to behold – and the streamlined, enjoyably commercial sound of the aforementioned “Scream” and the absurdly catchy “Last Runaway” perfectly balance the heroic nature of the Maiden-esque “Slaves Of The New World” (think Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son era) and the astonishingly epic closing title track.
Let’s face it, you’ve got to be willing to embrace your 80’s fanboy and dive headfirst into a sea of overwhelming nostalgia to fully appreciate Golgotha but one thing is crystal clear, Blackie Lawless and W.A.S.P are reborn in more ways than one (we refer of course to Blackie’s over-publicised return to Christianity). This is the finest WASP album in over 20 years and Blackie’s steadfast refusal to drastically change his sound has been fully vindicated (the industrialised clatter of 1997’s Kill Fuck Die withstanding of course). With a voice that has retained it’s powerful raspy edge even after nearly 40 years of (ab)use, Blackie still leaves room for a good ol’ croon, with the prime balladry of “Miss You” particularly showcasing his seemingly ageless vocal chords.
Worthy of note is guitarist Doug Blair who peels off tremendous solo after tremendous solo with a virtuoso performance that deserves endless plaudits. His contribution to Golgotha is monumental and while long time fans may still pray for the return of original guitarist Chris Holmes it’s a situation that remains highly unlikely and completely unnecessary; Doug Blair has delivered the goods here and then some!
Admittedly, Blackie may not f*ck like a beast anymore but he sure does rock like one and while 6 years in between albums is a long time to wait, this time capsule of a record is a revelation for those hoping W.A.S.P. could still deliver a record to equal Inside The Electric Circus or The Headless Cross. All this anniversary talk of Back to the Future means shit; with just one listen of Golgotha, W.A.S.P. have the power to send you back to the 80’s in considerable style. Stick that up your Delorean’s exhaust pipe Marty McFuckin’Fly! 8/10