Before you even pop the album into your stereo, the ten-page introduction contained inside the CD jacket makes it sufficiently clear that this is not your typical, fun-loving W.A.S.P. album of yore. Gone are the pyrotechnics and the faux human appendage missiles of the eighties, for W.A.S.P. wants to be serious now.
The second part of a concept series by the L.A.-based band (indeed, the “Part 1” in the title is apparently just for show), “The Neon God” is a pretentious, uninspired mix of heard-it-before metal that lacks much of the fire that was ever so prominent in their eighties heyday. Where’s the punch of songs like “Animal (Fuck Like A Beast)” from their 1984 debut? Not on this album, that’s for sure, as such rowdy rockers have been scrapped in favor of yawn-inducing passages like the nearly eight-minute “Sister Sadie (And The Black Habits)”.
Like any good concept album, “The Neon God” starts off with a quick overture. With its keyboards, it sounds almost Deep Purple-esque; however, this doesn’t save it from being an ultimately boring intro that doesn’t build up the album in any way. Take special note of the intro, for this exact melody will be aped four songs later, in the quasi-title track “The Rise”.
The overture is followed by a thirty-second interlude (what, already?) featuring some of the whiniest, grating vocals that Blackie Lawless has yet to deliver. Speaking of short songs, no less than four of the songs on this album clock in at less than one minute long. Add that to the fact that each one is fairly similar and voila! You’ve got a concept album with a total lack of creativity, which should be the fundamental basis for any concept album.
Indeed, the album’s only saving grace is the excellent keyboard-injected rocker “X.T.C. Riders”. It’s the kind of song that really gets your blood going and makes you momentarily forget about all the mediocre material you had to sift through to find this gem. It truly pains me when a band can strike gold on just song out of fourteen.
Needless to say, if you’re in the market for a W.A.S.P. album, look elsewhere. “The Neon God” fails to deliver its promised epic tale of soul-searching and instead becomes a messy, boring and ultimately forgettable experience. I’m hoping the third part of this concept series has more weight behind it, but I’m not holding my breath. (Online August 30, 2006)