The Crimson Idol review by W.A.S.P.

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  • Released: Jun 8, 1992
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 9.1 (26 votes)
W.A.S.P.: The Crimson Idol

Sound — 10
I had to review this album. I know that a lot of people have probably already, but I've just started listening to it again lately and it's reminded me how brilliant it is. So here we go. A classic WASP album from 1992. Interestingly enough though, it was originally recorded as a Blackie Lawless solo album until he allegedly gave in to fan pressure and released it under WASP. This is the fifth studio album from WASP and in my opinion it is easily the best. Essentially it is a concept album which explains the story of a young man named Jonathan Steel. It explains his inability to please his parents while living in the shadow of his perfect brother Michael. It documents his addiction to drugs, his theft of a crimson guitar and his eventual rise to fame. But no matter how great his success, he always sees himself as a failure in the eyes of his parents. After a phonecall to his mother who effectively disowns him, he commits suicide. As for the music I have to give it a 10/10. Everything from the slow acoustics and orchestral sections to the fast and heavy guitars just works perfectly. The variety is brilliant. And Blackie Lawless' voice is at its best on this album.

Lyrics — 10
As was earlier stated, this is a concept album. So obviously the lyrics tell a story, and are at times quite emotional and deep. 'The Invisible Boy" explains how Jonathan has always been an unwanted son, living in the shadow of his brother Michael and how he could never live up to his parents expectations. "Arena of Pleasure" explains how Jonathan flees his home after the death of his brother and wanders the streets getting addicted to drugs and alcohol. After stealing a guitar, Jonathan is approached by 'Chainsaw Charlie' who just happens to be the president of a record company. He promises to make Jonathan famous and introduces him to Alex Rodman who will become his manager. Eventually he has become a famous rockstar. But no amount of success can get him what he has really wanted all along, the acceptance of his parents. After a fateful phonecall to his mother in which she finishes the conversation with the words 'I have no son' Jonathan realises that his parents will never accept him and so decides to commit suicide. Admittedly the story isn't very unique or original, but the way it has been written makes it fantastic. So much has been put into the writing and the creation of characters. I also enjoyed the recurring characters and lyrics.

Overall Impression — 10
Compared to other albums by WASP, I have to say there is no contest. This is their best. I can honestly say that this is in my top 10 albums of all time. The most standout songs in my opinion are 'The Invisible Boy' 'Chainsaw Charlie' 'The Idol' and 'The Great Misconceptions of Me' If I have to make one criticism about this album it would be this; the final track 'The Story of Jonathan' which is a 16 minute spoken word overview of the entire album. I don't think it should have been on the album. I don't see the point. If you're listening to a concept album and you need the final track to explain to you what you've just been listening to for the last hour, then there's something wrong with you. But of course, you can always just stop the album after Misconceptions finishes. The 2CD version comes with bonus tracks including one song 'The Eulogy' which I think should have replaced 'The Story of Jonathan' Embarrassingly enough, even though this is one of my all time favourite albums, I still don't own a physical copy of it. I will soon though, I'm planning to buy it on vinyl. And if it was ever stolen or destroyed I would definitely buy it again.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    love this album, although personally I think The Headless Children is their best, it bridged the gap perfectly between crimson idol and the first three albums.