The Headless Children

W.A.S.P.

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The Headless Children Review

by Greg Prato

With 1989's The Headless Children, W.A.S.P. wanted to be taken as serious artists (for the most part). And while singer/guitarist/leader Blackie Lawless expressed excitement about the band's current lineup, which included longtime guitarist Chris Holmes, bassist Johnny Rod, Quiet Riot drummer Frankie Banali, and Uriah Heep keyboardist Ken Hensley -- the complete group never toured. With the band concentrating more on the music than the gimmicks (they were pictured sans ghoulish makeup and costumes), The Headless Children remains W.A.S.P.'s most accomplished work. The album's best-known tracks remain their cover of the Who's Quadrophenia anthem "The Real Me" and the rocking "Mean Man" (an autobiographical tale about guitarist Holmes), while a pair of epics -- "The Heretic" and the title track -- and perhaps W.A.S.P.'s best ballad, "Forever Free," were also standouts. While longtime fans may prefer the gross-out heavy metal of their early albums (W.A.S.P. and The Last Command), The Headless Children is their most well-constructed album. [The 1998 CD reissue contains six added bonus tracks, among them a cover of Jethro Tull's "Locomotive Breath" and live versions of "L.O.V.E. Machine" and "Blind in Texas."]

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