W.A.S.P.’s Golgotha (2015) is a masterful heavy metal creation with beautiful guitar riffs and heartbreaking melodies and harmonies

After six years of waiting, W.A.S.P. releases Golgotha, its 15th studio album, on October 2, 2015, through Napalm Records. The line-up of Golgotha comprises the same musicians as its predecessor, Babylon (2009): Blackie Lawless on lead vocals & guitars (also produced the album), Doug Blair on guitars, Mike Duda on bass, and Mike Dupke on drums. Nevertheless, drummer Mike Dupke left the band after the recording of the album.

The album

Scream introduces the album with an uptempo rock song characterised by a very strong chorus and a traditional dramatic chord progression. In a typical W.A.S.P. manner, Blackie Lawless creates a dark and dramatic mood, just like connoisseurs of the band would expect. Great start into the album.

Last Runaway keeps the tempo high and introduces a more colourful mood. The harmony vocals of the chorus add a great unexpected spice to the song. In the beginning, the galloping drum beat seems somewhat cheesy, but makes completes sense through out the song. Very enjoyable track!

The pizzicato guitar intro of Shotgun reminds of bluesy ZZ Top tunes, which fits well into the musical concept of Golgotha. Again an uptempo song with a more colourful feel that keeps the ‘good times’ rollin’. One-third of the album is through and there was not one boring beat. Very impressed so far.

Miss You is the first ballad of the album. The 7-minutes-and-42-seconds melodramatic song builds slowly up until it reaches the first climax at 2:22 with a heartbreaking chorus. The second climax of the song comes with the second guitar solo at 5:32, beautifully crafted and performed till the last beat.

Fallen Under picks up where the previous song left off but in a laid-back uptempo. The band continues on a melodramatic note and minor chord, with Blackie Lawless charming the song away with his characteristically mean but beautiful vocals.

Slaves Of The New World Order holds on to the musical dark flag, but picks up the pace. The song is characterised by a more monotonous underlying groove and feel until it opens up in the chorus with Blackie Lawless typical belting singing. Somewhen during the song, I was catapulted back a couple of decades and I envisioned a video very similar to W.A.S.P.’s L.O.V.E. Machine that was playing with this song as its soundtrack.

Eyes Of My Maker provides the listener with the album’s characteristic dark feel carried by a stomping mid-tempo groove and a palm-muted straight 8th’s guitar riff. I can definitely imagine this song become a favourite at live gigs. It motivates to raise one’s fist in the air and should along.

As the name of the next song implies, hope and brighter days may lie ahead. Hero Of The World brings more colour to the mostly dark feel of the album but keeps the melodramatic edge of the musical concept. Surely a favourite of mine on the album.

Last but not least, the title-track, Golgotha. The song starts with a W.A.S.P.-esque melodramatic intro that leads to a laid-back mid-tempo ballade. Blackie Lawless’ harmonies create an energetic musical picture of pain and hope, which works well also during the instrumental parts of the song. Golgotha is the perfect song to close the album.

In conclusion

I have been listening to W.A.S.P. since I first heard their song I wanna be somebody off their debut album, and when the epochal The Crimson Idol album came out, my disc-man played their music on a daily basis – in replay.  Somehow, though, the band was not able to reproduce the greatness of their first five studio albums anymore. Until Golgotha. The first listen of the new album made me crank up the volume on my headphones and look for interviews of the band to make sense of what led to the creation of this excellent record.

Golgotha radiates a darker mood and feel and stays true to that musical concept throughout the album. Occasionally, a crack lets brighter mood colours shine in to add a different flavour. In addition, the lyrics create a heartbreaking atmosphere, also, due to Blackie’s outstanding heavy metal voice.

Mastermind Blackie Lawless has given me back ‘my’ W.A.S.P.. The band that I has provided me with albums that I can listen to from the first second to the last without having to skip any song. Golgotha is such an album: A masterful heavy metal creation with beautiful guitar riffs and heartbreaking melodies and harmonies.

Sebastiano Mereu

YouTuber + host of the #FHTZ online music show with co-producer @simonkurt + marketing & digital content producer + university lecturer