Metal: album review – W.A.S.P. ‘Re-idolized (The Soundtrack To The Crimson Idol)

This review was originally published by Get Ready To Rock here

Moving away from the trashy, good-time, OTT lyrics of earlier albums, The Crimson Idol (released in 1993) saw Blackie Lawless and W.A.S.P. move into the territory of the concept  album.

The Crimson Idol tells the story of dispossessed teenager, Jonathan Steele, who becomes addicted to drink and drugs following the death of his brother and rejection by his parents. He turns his life around by becoming a rock ‘n’ roll star but still seeks acceptance from his parents. Trying and failing to reconcile with them the story ends with Steele committing suicide.

Now, some twenty-five years after it was first released, The Crimson Idol is back in the form of Re-idolized (The Soundtrack To The Crimson Idol). It’s a four-disc package that includes two CDs (the complete re-recording of the original album by the current W.A.S.P. line-up, including several tracks that were never included on the original album), along with DVD and Blue Ray versions of the hitherto unreleased Crimson Idol film. The album was originally intended to be accompanied by said film and several hundred hours of footage was shot at the time. Assembled here to create approximately 50 minutes of screen time it finally sees the light of day.

Filmed in grainy, evocative black and white, it is to be seen very much as an extended album-length video rather than (in contrast to say The Who’s Quadrophinia) a fully-formed rock film in its own right. As such, I’m not sure it’s something I would necessarily want to go and see at the cinema but it’s certainly a compelling visual memento of a very significant album in W.A.S.P.’s career.

For the CDs there is a definite energy and vitality about the recordings, even if I remain to be fully convinced of what overriding artistic point is being served by bands re-recording classic albums.  However, having seen the band perform the album in full on their recent UK tour, W.A.S.P. are definitely firing on all cylinders, Lawless’s voice is as powerful as ever, guitarist Doug Blair is an awesome player and it’s great to hear the album with the original missing songs fully restored to their rightful place in the story.

The serious W.A.S.P. fan will almost certainly want to buy this. For the more casual fan, whose interest in W.A.S.P. may have been rekindled by both the recent tour and the publicity around this release, the original version of The Crimson Idol (retailing at around half the price) may well suffice.

Released: February 2nd 2018


Related review:
W.A.S.P. at Hastings 2017


5 thoughts on “Metal: album review – W.A.S.P. ‘Re-idolized (The Soundtrack To The Crimson Idol)

  1. I really love these re-recordings. For all but “Hold On To My Heart” (which had zero room for improvement already), I pretty much prefer the newer recordings… they are clean and the drum and guitar work has just a little extra to it compared to the original versions. Many of the songs feature an onslaught of tom drum runs, as did the original album and I personally find more interesting nuances in the playing on the newer versions compared to the brute pounding of the originals. I like the lead guitar feel on the newer versions better too. Vocally the originals were slightly superior likely due to Blackie having the abilities of being 25 years younger… but for the most part these are pretty spot on. The re-recordings are very interesting, FAR more than remasters would be. I gotta say… if you loved the original, this should also be interesting and loved. If you do not have the original, I would recommend this over the original for the reasons above and the extra songs (all of which are cool… “Miss You” is great, as it was on the prior album it was on. The whole thing is a masterpiece in both its original and re-recorded version. The pinnacle of WASP.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had VERY mixed feelings about Blackie and co re-recording ‘The Crimson Idol’… but it has to be said that ‘Re-Idolized’ has really started to grow on me in the last month… I think the performances on the original album are better – but only because it took 18 months to record, whereas this new one was taped in about three months total – but the new tracks give an already heartbreaking story added depth and width… so it’s nice if you see the new version as a companion to rather than a replacement of the original 1992 album (which seems to age like a fine wine the older it gets!).

    In Blackie we trust.

    Liked by 2 people

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