W.A.S.P. - W.A.S.P.
On August 17, 1984 "W.A.S.P." released their debut Self Titled album.
The band was formed in 1982 by Blackie Lawless (the only remaining member to date from the original lineup). The band grew up in the Los Angeles heavy metal scene, along bands like "Motley Crue" and "Ratt". The word "W.A.S.P." represents the acronym for the words "White Anglo-Saxon Protestant", mentioned in the lyrics of the song "Show No Mercy" which is only found in the expanded edition of the album. It is an unofficial term to describe a group that is considered to have high dominance among the American upper class - the "elite" who founded the United States.
However, the word "W.A.S.P." also represents the acronym - We Are Sexual Perverts - a meaning that is more in line with the essence of the band and what it tried to represent in its early days. "W.A.S.P." belonged to the "Shock-Rock" genre and their motto, right from the first single they released, was to offence, shake and shock!
From the moment of its inception and even before the release of their first album, "W.A.S.P." became entangled with conservative organizations, due to the use of rude and abusive words, as well as contempt and humiliation of women. Their video clips were often showed half naked women while singer and bassist (then) Blackie Lawless used to walk around in leather pants with a disc of a chainsaw between his joints.
Just to be clear, the first single she released "Animal (F @ #% Like a Beast)" became one of the most controversial songs due to its title and content. It's one of the first songs to win the dubious title "Filthy 15", and all of Blackie Lawless' attempts to claim he wrote it based on a National Geographic film where he saw a pair of mating lions did not help, and the song was deleted at the last minute from the album to please the angry parents organizations. Interestingly, even "W.A.S.P." itself stopped performing the song in live starting the 90s after Blackie decided he was reborn as a Christian.
The album continues with the line of the first single, with songs with S&M titles designed to shock and shake and hint at inappropriate content, such as "On Your Knees", "Tormentor", "L.O.V.E. Machine" or "The Torture Never Stops".
One might mistakenly think that this whole provocative pose was meant to cover up shallow musical content or a low level of playing. The cheap also contributed to the feeling that this is a glam metal album at the lowest level.
But no! Listening to the album reveals an energetic and dominant band that is much more than a passing gimmick and that its style of music is far beyond a sweet and flattering glam.
Songs like, "Hellion" or "I Wanna Be Somebody" are examples of powerful and energetic songs that prove to us that W.A.S.P. is essentially closer to the roughness of "Judas Priest" than to the theatricality of "Twisted Sister".
What's more, we enjoy listening to it even today, almost 40 years later, to tracks such as "L.O.V.E.Machine", "School Daze" or "Sleeping (In the Fire)" and if this is not proof that "W.A.S.P." was never a gimmick, then What is?
Already in this excellent debut album singer and bassist Blackie Lawless is revealed as apt for the title of band leader, writing all the songs of the album without exception, only two of them in collaboration with guitarist Chris Holmes. This ability will improve on the next and excellent album "The Last Command" which was released a year later.