The Crimson Idol
unregistered, on june 09, 2010 1 of 2 people found this review helpful
Sound: WASP's 'The Crimson Idol" really changes the sound that the band had perviously, and not in a bad way at all. During the 80's, WASP was another shock rock band the was MTV-friendly, and mostly songs from their first two albums got heavy air-play. The sound on this album is more organized and thought-out than any of their preivous albums. There are many songs that use acoustic instruments, which is very odd for WASP. Also, there are some hints of orchestral music in some songs, mostly the last 3 tracks. Blackie Lawless's voice is undeniable on this album. He hit his peak with this album. I was even amazed! The guitar and drums have the 80's sound to it. The drums are very well prepared, and they have a large echo to them. The guitars are very ear-splitting, but don't worry, I mean that in a good way! The sound is just spectacular on this album! // 10
Lyrics: The whole album follows the story of a teen, Jonathan Steel, who steals a guitar one day during his teen years, and he gets noticed by a ruthless record company president, AKA "Chainsaw Charlie". As he becomes an extremely popular artist, he faces the cons of being a famous rockstar. The constant partying, Emassive amounts of drugs, etc. But the one that hits Jonathan the hardest is the rejection of his parents, due to their disagreement with his occupation. As he realizes that he can really never please them, he commits suicide by taking the strings of his guitar and turning them into a noose, hanging himself.
The entire story is very dark, but that is really what makes this album so great. "The Invisible Boy" talks of how Jonathan felt after his brother died in a car accident, as he ran away from home. "Chainsaw Charlie (Murders In The New Morgue)" is about the CEO of a record complany, and his ruthless ways of doing business. The best known song on here "Hold Onto My Heart" is a nice little ballad, with not so sweet lyrics. This one talks of how Jonathan feels that his parents aren't pleased with him, and how he'll never be accepted.
Each song has it's own personal part it adds to the album, that just makes it better. The story has it's very deppressing moments, where you actually feel sorry for Jonathan. I know weird! But, that what makes it so great. // 10
Overall Impression: This is, litterally, my favorite WASP album. It is also one of my favorite albums overall. The way it was made is just incredible. The highlight tracks, in my opinion, are: The Idol, Hold onto my heart, Chainsaw Charlie, and Arena Of Pleasure. These just make the album.
There is really nothing to hate about this album, except maybe they could've added another song or two. I got the 2-disc version of this album and on the bonus tracks, they have a track called "The Eulogy". That song would've made a great ending to this album.
If it were stolen / lost, I might buy it again. Almost every CD I get I put on my computer, so if I lost it, I'd probably be mad, but I still have the copy on my computer. But, really, If you don't already have this album, GET IT! // 9
The Crimson Idol
Jake_Cadaverous, on november 30, 2010 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: 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. // 10
Lyrics: 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. // 10
Overall Impression: 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. // 10