Review Summary: W.A.S.P.'s darkest hour.
W.A.S.P., despite being undoubtedly heavier (and, in all honesty, a lot less glamorous) than their poodle haired contempories, for many, will always be just another L.A. Glam Metal band. One listen to the bands seventh album should relieve those of all such illusions, as Kill, F**k, Die, or K.F.D as it is often referred to, is an angry, industrial tinged monster of an album that has more in common with Ministry than Motley Crue.
The line-up for this album was:
Blackie Lawless – vocals, guitars
Chris Holmes – guitars
Mike Duda – bass
Stet Howland – drums
After two considerably darker and, dare I say, more serious albums (1992’s The Crimson Idol and ‘95’s Still Not Black Enough), fans were left wondering which direction Blackie Lwaless and co. would take next, In fact, the return of original guitarist Chris Holmes sparked rumours of a return to the bands roots; little did they know the band was about to embark on the darkest chapter of their career.
One thing that remains in tact from the W.A.S.P. of old is the shock factor, which was once associated with such controversial anthems as Animal (F**k Like A Beast) and the testosterone driven Ballcrusher. This time around the controversy takes on an altogether much darker tone, with the album title alone being enough to get parents rummaging through their offspring’s CD collections (hoping not to find a copy).
The opening title track is one of the album’s more accessible songs, which is somewhat surprising given it’s title. Nevertheless the change in direction is immediately evident with the song showcasing the album’s industrial sounding production and the band’s altogether more aggressive approach. The aforementioned factors however do not detract from the songs catchy almost anthemic chorus. The same could also be said of the following track, Take The Addiction, which features one of the album’s most memorable riffs, but despite some solid hooks there’s no denying that this is some seriously tortured s**t. One of the album’s standout tracks is My Tortured Eyes, which is a lot slower than the previous two tracks, but with lyrics like “C’mon kill me”, doesn’t divert from the dark lyrical themes of the rest of the album. The song also features a welcome guitar solo from the returning Chris Holmes. Killahead is another album highlight and is the last song on the album that could be remotely described as accessible.
Kill Your Pretty Face and Fetus are perhaps the most depressing and, particularly in the latter’s case, disturbing songs on the album. Little Death does little to lift the mood of the album nor do any of the remaining tracks, certainly not the epic, slow burning closer, The Horror, which has a certain eastern flavour to it. Chants of “Kneel before the horror” proceed a chorus that falsely threatens to pick up the pace and around the fifth minute mark these chants are repeated along with the rather more disturbing “F**k me, kill me, drink my blood”, which definitely makes for one of the albums most memorable moments, even if it is purely due to the shock factor.
One of the main reason’s why this is now heralded as the band's darkest hour is due to the return of Chris Holmes, as Blackie explains:
"Chris Holmes is a large part of why Kill, F**k, Die turned out so insanely disturbing. The man really is the personification of madness. The whole thing was borderline criminal before, so throwing Chris into the mix just tipped it over the edge into the truly dangerous."
Overall Kill, F**k, Die is certainly not an album for the faint hearted nor those who are simply looking for some good-time sex-driven metal anthems of the band’s old days, but it is however a solid musical achievement for a band that have nothing left to prove. It’s an album that capitalises on the anger and insanity within each individual band member and puts it into a melting pot to create something raw and full of emotion.
K.F.D. is an album that will take several listens before it’s highlights really start to shine through and if given time it will certainly reveal itself as a grower.