The Best Of The Best Volume One: 1984-2000

W.A.S.P.

Apocalypse Records / Snapper Music, 2000

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/17/2000

No disrespect is meant to Blackie Lawless, but was it really necessary to bring out another "best-of" of W.A.S.P. at this time? After all, it's only been seven years since First Blood... Last Cuts appeared on store shelves, and the band has only added four new titles (one of which was a live disc) to their catalog in the interim. Not to mention the fact that Snapper Music recently re-issued the entire W.A.S.P. catalog up to The Crimson Idol complete with bonus discs filled with rarities.

Oh, well; if you've got a good thing going, I guess too much is never enough. That said, enter the picture The Best Of The Best Volume One: 1984-2000, the first release from Lawless and crew since the band left CMC International. Focusing on the balls-out approach to their music on this part of the collection (the second volume, featuring the "softer" side of W.A.S.P., is expected later this year), Lawless gathers together 13 of the band's killer tracks, along with two new tracks.

Of the new tracks, it might surprise some people that Lawless chooses to cover, of all people, Elton John on "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting". (Why not? W.A.S.P. has covered Mountain, Uriah Heep and Led Zeppelin in the past.) What could have been a mess turns out to be a wonderful new approach to the song that stays faithful to the original song without sacrificing any of W.A.S.P.'s power. Who knows? Sir Elton might even like this new spin.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The other track, "Unreal," sounds like it could have been a leftover from the criminally-ignored Helldorado CD - but unlike the tracks on that disc, this one doesn't quite have the magic that other W.A.S.P. songs have, and it tends to fall a little flat. Why this track just doesn't work for me, I don't know - and I've been trying to think of one concrete reason for the last hour. (Damn - see if Blackie ever returns my calls again.)

Let's face it; if you're interested in The Best Of The Best Volume One: 1984-2000, chances are you've already got most of this material in your collection. That doesn't mean it's not fun to listen to again; I'll never shirk from the opportunity to listen to tracks like "Blind In Texas," "Mean Man," "Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)" and "Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue)" for the hundredth time. There's something special about W.A.S.P.'s music - namely, that it hasn't lost a single iota of its power or relevance, no matter when it was recorded.

All of this being equal, there are noticable absences on this disc - namely, the lack of material from Still Not Black Enough and K.F.D. (Admission: I have yet to listen to Still Not Black Enough - both the American and British versions that I bought via eBay.) I'm not saying that Inside The Electric Circus - the only W.A.S.P. album I can't say I like - shouldn't have been included here. But I think Lawless is doing himself a disservice by not focusing on two albums that some fans might not know exist. Geez, Helldorado didn't get a great promotion job, but two tracks from it are featured.

This doesn't mean that The Best Of The Best Volume One: 1984-2000 isn't a good disc; hell, it's a great disc. But in all fairness, I kinda miss having a slower track thrown in from time to time to act as a buffer from the constant assault. (Sorry, Blackie - but that's another thing I've always liked about W.A.S.P., namely you know when to let the intensity slip in order for the audience to catch their breaths.) Still, if you've gotta have one disc to be the soundtrack to your road rage, this is a great one to slam into the CD player.

Rating: A-

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© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Apocalypse Records / Snapper Music, and is used for informational purposes only.