Heavy metal band W.A.S.P. are back with a brand new studio album. The album, Golgotha, is the band’s fifteenth studio album, as well as their first album since 2009’s Babylon. In fact, it’s the third album to come from this line-up of W.A.S.P.- consisting of singer and leader Blackie Lawless, guitarist Doug Blair, bassist Mike Duda and drummer Mike Dupke (who left the band shortly before the album was released). Lawless is keeping W.A.S.P. alive and well by touring constantly. For Golgotha, Lawless was able to spend more time in the studio and it has paid off: Golgotha is a damn good album.
The album opens with the hard rocking “Scream.” Although it sounds a bit like “Crazy” from the last album, it is a great song nevertheless. The following track, “Last Runaway,” is better. From Blair’s blazing guitar work, Duda’s throbbing bass playing and Dupke’s thunderous drumming, it really is a strong song. “Miss You” is another highlight, a mini-epic in some ways as it transitions from a slow paced to a downright heavy tune. The lyrics are wonderful, as Lawless seems to question his faith and beliefs. “I found this thing that I make sing/Can you hear me now?” sings Lawless. “Why did you go and leave me alone?”
Lyrically, this album is religiously themed. There’s a reason why: in recent years, Lawless has considered himself a born-again Christian. Some longtime fans have been puzzled by this, as Lawless has reworked lyrics in older songs and chooses not to perform the controversial “Animal (F**k Like a Beast).” Personally, I don’t mind the religious themes and imagery on this album. In fact, I think it benefits from it. The aforementioned “Miss You” is an example, as is the head-banging “Fallen Under.” The song has a bouncy but rough feel and uses powerful religious imagery: “Pull me up from saints of darkness/Breath me back to life/Slave in hostage slain in bondage/Bathe me in your blood back alive.” More religious themes can be found in the hard-hitting “Slaves of the New World Order” and the gritty “Eyes of My Maker.”
While a great album, Golgotha is weak in spots. Some of the songs on here sound like other songs from W.A.S.P.’s past. This is nothing new as Lawless has even admitted he’s reused old riffs. The aforementioned “Scream” is one while “Shotgun” is another: the latter is a good song but musically sounds like a continuation of “Last Runaway.” The opening for “Hero of the World” sounds like “The Rise” from the first Neon God album, but is otherwise a good song. The album closes out with the beckoning title track. Lawless and the band are in fine form here and it closes out the album fittingly, with Lawless bringing the album full circle. The chorus is pretty song too: “Jesus, I need you now/Free me I’m lost somehow/Oh remember me today/I’m a leper left to hang/Oh yes I need you now/Jesus, I need you now.”
Overall, Golgotha is another great album from W.A.S.P. It sounds like Blackie and the guys put a lot of work into this album and it really has paid off. Personally, I think I enjoyed this more than Babylon. No matter what kind of W.A.S.P. fan you are, this album is definitely worth your time.