Review Summary: The weakest album from W.A.S.P.'s 'classic' era.
Third album often marks the first turning point in a band's career. It can be either a comeback to shape after disappointing second album or a refreshing experiment after two similar ones. W.A.S.P.'s 'Inside the Electric Circus' is neither of these.
In 1986, after one of countless line-up changes, Blackie Lawless and his band began working on their third album. After two quite successful albums they apparently decided not to take any risk and record another album full of catchy, light-hearted heavy metal songs. The album received mixed reviews and in term of sales was just a little bit under whelming when compared to the debut and The Last Command. Blackie Lawless however was to say that some of his worst work is to be found here and because of that invented a new, darker sound for W.A.S.P. on the next album.
And now for the most important - the songs. After nice intro 'The Big Welcome' the title track comes in. It is a mid-tempo song that has some great guitar work and strong vocals. It's a little similar to 'Savage' - B-side from the previous album's session but that's forgivable as they are both excellent tracks. 'I Don't Need No Doctor' is a cover of Ray Charles's song. After an appropriate treatment from the band it turned into a classic W.A.S.P. track, maybe with a little more melody to it than usually. Another highlight is the next track and lead single from the album called '9.5.-N.A.S.T.Y.'. The song combines peaceful verses with powerful chorus in which Blackie screams at the top of his lungs. Any of those three songs still can be found in the band's live set up to this day.
Unfortunately the rest of the album is rather disappointing as we get a package of tracks that are solid to quite good but nothing more than that. 'Sweet Cheetah' is pretty catchy but it's too similar to '9.5.-N.A.S.T.Y.' and obviously not as good as that track. There are more peaceful songs like 'Restless Gypsy' and 'I'm Alive' but especially the first one seems longer than it really is. 'Shoot From the Hip''s lyrics may recall some of the most infamous W.A.S.P.'s songs but it misses their attitude and energy and as a result we get one of the most ridiculous songs the band ever recorded. For some reason the album is also two tracks (in some editions four tracks) longer than the previous ones which is an another flaw especially when most of band's earlier B-sides is considerably better than any of the songs mentioned in this paragraph.
Overall 'Inside the Electric Circus' is the weakest album from their 'classic' era and could be responsible for the lack of further world wide recognition of the band's work. However three standout tracks make it worth a listen and a good addition to every W.A.S.P.'s fan's collection.
-Inside the Electric Circus
-I Don't Need No Doctor