It can’t have been an easy decision to carry on after the tragic death of Dave Brockie aka Oderus Urungus at all. After all he was the alien in chief behind GWAR since they formed even if Sleazy Martini tried to steal the credit and the glory at the time. The band has had a massive revolving door policy which during its time has seen a couple of other sad deaths. Let’s not forget drummer Sean Sumner and Cory Smoot aka Flattus Maximus but this one was something that many a band would not recover from. BalSac and Jizmak have been around since the late 80’s and obviously decided that GWAR’s legacy had to carry on. We would really miss their unique and gory stage spectacles, probably more than the actual music, which has always kind of come second best, if they had hung up their boots. I was kind of surprised when Vulvatron aka K.Dylla took up the microphone and was not sure whether to be amused at horrified of the group’s mangling of Pet Shop Boys ‘West End Girls’ which did the rounds. There was no denying they owned the song though. Her departure came kind of quick too and it’s been left to Blothar aka Mike Bishop ex of Pigface to lead the way on the first recorded material since Oderus’ sad departure.
First impression is that obviously this is not Oderus and his somewhat dictatorial and austere tones have been replaced by someone generally playing things a bit straighter but no less theatrically. Not to worry too much, I quickly found myself getting used to this and as for the music on the album, the versatility behind it all quickly shone through too. We could follow the story about the ‘War On GWAR’ etc but it’s a silly one as per usual, or concentrate on the music itself. I choose the latter as it shows sheer depth of what the band are doing here. The Type O doom intro goes into a thrashy and snappy of neck gallop full of pure heavy metal licks and ballsy bravado. It’s impossible not to like, GWAR are often like that cheesy metal band who take themselves so seriously and that is what they are doing here, not serious at all but way better than any poser with a mullet perm and guitar. Influences from classic days come through quite often too and metal nerds are going to have fun when they try and work out exactly who is being aped. The fiery garage rock-out that is ‘Viking Death Machine’ rocks out with memory of cuttlefish cocks out and is such a jubilant belter with a killer chorus you are going to be screaming for metal all the way through it. Then there’s ‘I’ll Be Your Monster’ pure Alice Cooper through and through, no doubt with a stage show to accompany it that completely wipes the floor with anything the master could have come up with. Leads are exuberant and blaze away and the band are obviously having great fun with it all. Playing so fast they are practically falling over themselves ‘Auroch’ is pure punk-metal fury. I swear I can even hear a bit of The Damned’s New Rose in there to boot.
It’s not all macho bullshit either, let’s not forget the legacy paved by the likes of Slymenstra Hymen. There’s some great backing squeaky girlie (not meant as an insult in the slightest it’s just how they sound) vocals on Death To Dickie Duncan which really hit the spot. As to who Dickie is, well I’m not entirely sure of his crimes. ‘Crushed By The Cross’ is neither Stryper or Destruction but it has plenty of thrashing licks about it and some female operatic vocals which come as a surprise. ‘Fuck This Place’ does exactly what one would expect by a song with that title and is no doubt going to go down a storm in playgrounds across the globe. Completely different mood, I 1st thought ‘Phantom Limb’ a ballad essentially was a cover. It appears not but a tribute to Oderus, a statement about the band carrying on without him. It’s also catchy in a Bon Jovi way (sorry) and Dead Or Alive we can only salute the band’s message here. As for final number ‘If You Want Blood,’ if you don’t know that you really are in the wrong place.
I enjoyed this a hell of a lot more than I expected to, the fact that GWAR have displayed the fact that they are daft as a bag of box of frogs and damn good musicians is not lost here. Sure Scumdogs will forever be their greatest moment for me but GWAR are certainly still Gods in my book!
(8/10 Pete Woods)