Back in 1992, W.A.S.P. released the highly acclaimed concept album The Crimson Idol telling the story of a fictional rock star named Jonathan Steel. It was intended originally to be a Blackie Lawless, W.A.S.P.’s founder and singer, solo album, but he bowed to fan pressure and released it as a W.A.S.P. album. Flash ahead to late last year. W.A.S.P. played the whole album again on tour to mark the 25th anniversary of its release. The tour was only in Europe, in case you were wondering, as the band rarely tours the US anymore. Half of those 54 dates ended up being sellouts too.
Now the band has re-released and re-recorded this gem, only this time, it comes with the four missing songs that were intended to be on the original release, as well as the 60 minute film “The Crimson Idol” which was never released. Officially now a soundtrack release, one noticeable change are new lyrics to the song “Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue),” taking out all the curse words that were in the original release. Lawless, if you didn’t know, is a born again Christian and most likely did this to satisfy that. Unrelated to the lyric changes, he has also vowed never to perform the song “Animal” ever again due to his beliefs now. Does this make the sound on the album less heavy? No way. You get exactly what you were expecting to get from these 80’s thrashers. “Miss You,” a song also on the 2015 release Golgatha, was the first song ever written for The Crimson Idol sessions, but finally has been included exactly where it was intended to be. “The Lost Boy” is a great addition here with bombastic drums from newly departed Mike Dupke and ripping guitars from Doug Blair. Why the hell was this omitted from the original album? Only Lawless knows. The same goes for “The Peace.” A slower song, it guests Lawless’ friend and ex-W.A.S.P/Quiet Riot drummer Frankie Banali on it and compliments the album well.
The sixty minute movie, as you watch it, is narrated by Lawless of course and enables you to see what was intended back in 1992. No dialogue at all from the actors, the story is told by Lawless and comes to life as you watch and listen to it. Brilliance.
I have followed W.A.S.P since I discovered them back in 1984 and Lawless and company just get better in my opinion. This re-release proves that statement. I was lucky enough to see the original tour for this album in 1993 and I do hope he brings this tour back to the US this year as well because like I said, they rarely tour the states anymore. The fans want it Blackie. Please give it to us.