SKULL118

W.A.S.P., Best of the Best (2000, Snapper)

The skull:
While I guess it took a little while to clip together the background collage of old W.A.S.P. albums and royalty-free saw blades, the final product here is still a triumph of laziness and grim boredom. The enormous skull seems to have no greater raison d’être than to provide a whitish background so the logo stands out better, but if nothing else, it would be difficult to fit more skull on this cover. Of course, plopping a translucent skull over a red background means most of your cover will be pink, but hey, we don’t judge here.

The music:
While W.A.S.P. has released about three dozen greatest hits compilations, the definitive, nay quintessential W.A.S.P. best-of is their self-titled debut, which contains about 85% of all the good songs they ever recorded, a fact obviously not lost on the hard working folks at Snapper Records, who saw fit to dedicate a full third of the tracklist on Best of the Best to songs from that album or the band’s debut single. Bear in mind that W.A.S.P. had released eight albums by the time this compilation was issued, two of which are entirely unrepresented here. But while you won’t be hearing any songs from Still Not Black Enough or Kill Fuck Die on Best of the Best, you’ll get two tracks from Helldorado, the band’s worst album (as of 2000), including the flabbergasting “Dirty Balls.” And really, if “9.5.-N.A.S.T.Y.” is to be counted among the best of the best, I shudder to imagine what even the worst of the best would be. Die-hard W.A.S.P. fans will of course want this for the two exclusive songs, including the all-time second best heavy metal cover of Elton John’s “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting.” The best never sounded so bad.
— Friar Johnsen

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