In the liner notes that Blackie Lawless wrote for Dying for the World, W.A.S.P.'s founder/lead singer angrily declares, "F*ck political correctness; that went down with the World Trade Center." Of course, being politically correct is something that Lawless has never been accused of. Back in the '80s, his over-the-top antics offended people of all political persuasions. Lawless always loved to be shocking -- Alice Cooper and Ozzy Osbourne taught him well -- but on Dying for the World, the veteran headbanger never gets into shock value for the sake of shock value. This 2002 release has a consistently serious tone, and that seriousness was, to a large degree, inspired by the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Lawless' liner notes assert that when the World Trade Center became a mass grave, he was determined to record an album that expressed his anger -- and Dying for the World is definitely angry. However, Lawless' lyrics don't necessarily come across as overtly political. "Revengeance," "Stone Cold Killers," and "Hell for Eternity" call for the destruction of those who destroyed Manhattan's Twin Towers, but the songs are worded in such a way that if you didn't read Lawless' liner notes, you wouldn't necessarily know that he was railing against al-Qaeda terrorists. Similarly, the moving "Hallowed Ground" was inspired by Lawless' October 2001 visit to what New Yorkers now call "Ground Zero," although he doesn't mention the World Trade Center by name. And not every track has to do with terrorism; the haunting "Trail of Tears," for example, is about the oppression of Native Americans. Musically, Dying for the World breaks no new ground for W.A.S.P., which sticks to an '80s-like sound -- and for die-hard fans of '80s metal, that isn't a bad thing. Not all of W.A.S.P.'s albums have been consistent, but this excellent CD is arguably the band's strongest, most focused release since the '80s.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson