Review Summary: Do not judge a book by its cover
WOW. That's all I can say about this. Take the first three albums, all excellent in their own right... and that's the worst of this album. A lot of the songs on here are in the vein of that album, except maybe a bit heavier. Stuff like "Mean Man", "Neutron Bomber", and "Rebel in the FDG" are classic balls-out rockers that only WASP can do quite properly. Catchy as ***, great riffs, memorable songwriting. You know the drill. "The Real Me" is an excellent cover of the Who, and "Forever Free" adds to their tradition of being able to get it right when it comes to ballads. Also, "Maneater" (a Harley child 'til I die.....) is spectacular.
Then, even the bonus tracks are great, including a very good cover of Jethro Tull's "Locomotive Breath", and nice originals like "War Cry", which would have not been out of place somewhere in the middle of the album. And that's the worst of it... as for the best, there are three songs on here that are just plain mind-blowing. They step up lyrically a lot, to take on "serious issues" in a really harrowing way... The title track, for instance, deals with nuclear war. It moves along at slightly above medium pace, centered around several excellent riffs. Awesome stuff.
Then, "Thunderhead" immediately follows this one. This song is just really ***ing harrowing, if you listen to it closely. A little piano intro sets the atmosphere - this in and of itself would have been a great ***ing song, but then it kicks into overdrive... "thunderhead, you're a man with a problem!" Then, the middle section. "Will you die for me?" "YES MASTER!" Then, solo after solo - I count something like eight in a row, with the last one exploding out of nowhere... absolutely awesome combination of melody and heaviness... the only real comparison I could think of is Painkiller, but not quite.
Okay, and that's not even the best! This album is made a complete ***ing legend by the opening track. "The Heretic" first pummels you with verse after verse over rapid-fire riffs... then a little melodic break, followed by more verses. "Don't turn off the light, there are demons in the night!" More riffs! And finally, "The heretic will say, you don't have to be afraid, until I -- UNTIL I COME TO GET YOU!!!" Then, solo after solo... this, my friends, is quite possibly the BEST heavy metal song ever done. Ever.
Album of the year - top ten albums of all time maybe. This is a total classic. This is traditional/80s/whatever metal of the absolute highest caliber.