It may have been years since W.A.S.P. has generated the kind of controversy (and by design, attention) in the States that had Tipper Gore and the PMRC all riled up in the 80s. But those that have remained loyal to vocalist/guitarist/lyricist Blackie Lawless (the sole original member) over the years, many of whom reside in Europe, have been treated to some quality, if not always consistent, material. Albums like "The Crimson Idol" and 2004's "Dying for the World" are not as well known outside W.A.S.P. fan circles as, say, the self-titled debut or "The Last Command", but many would argue that they are better, more creative albums (certainly "The Crimson Idol"). New album "Babylon" does not fly to quite the same heights as "Dying for the World" (the act's best of the decade in my opinion), but it doesn't pale in comparison either. It is another righteously rockin' collection of W.A.S.P. songs, regardless of the fact that no trails are blazed.
In other words, "Babylon" sticks to a Lawless songwriting formula that relies on catchy, yet never cheesy, choruses and a delivery that is built on strong, lava hot riffing and an overall attack that retains the outlaw mentality that has always been a W.A.S.P. staple. Thematically related to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, "Babylon" is a finely crafted work that works as a complete album. There are no big time standouts, but rather several strong songs that fit the classic W.A.S.P. mold, such as "Crazy" (you'll immediately think "Wild Child" when the song begins), "Live to Die Another Day", "Babylon's Burning", "Thunder Red", and "Seas of Fire". Indeed, I can't imagine any W.A.S.P. finding fault with any of those cuts; each one is melodically driven and filled with hellfire guitar work, including some scorching solos. "Into the Fire" and "Godless Run" are slow-burning ballad-esque numbers that work surprisingly well and fit nicely with the overall flow of the album; sugar coated they are not.
Finally, as Blackie is prone to do, he has included a couple of covers. Having done justice to songs from the likes of THE WHO, ELTON JOHN, and URIAH HEEP, the trend continues with the band's sizzling rendition of DEEP PURPLE's "Burn", which is anything but out of place here. Closing Chuck Berry number "Promised Land" is given Blackie's Elvis treatment and rocks like a son of a bitch! If you've never cared for W.A.S.P., then "Babylon" will not change your mind. The punters however should be pleased and it may even work as a gateway drug for the uninitiated.