since most of the rest were niche or joke GWAR threads, finally wanted to start this to actually talk about the "musical" merits of GWAR.
obviously, the received wisdom is that GWAR is most famous for its live shows, and the music is kind of a polite afterthought, and that's not exactly wrong. nothing they wrote is a front to back classic, per se. and in high school, I bought Scumdogs of the Universe and found it mostly boring, other than "Maggots" and "Slaughterama". Got Ragnarok years later, and it has a helluva 1-2-3 start (with my all time fav "Meat Sandwich"), and overall I liked it, but kinda forgot about it.
so a few years ago, I decided I wanted to listen to something fun and not weighty and gravitated towards America Must Be Destroyed and was surprised how much it actually rocked. Nobody was going to mistake it for Master of Puppets, no, but the humor mixed with the energy and the simple chunky punk-thrash actually holds up for most of the album. there's even a Thin Lizzy-esque song on there ("The Morality Squad").
Given how shitty life has been lately, I figured listening to just death and black metal is going to make me wanna gouge my eyes out, and I saw a video of one of the members of GWAR petitioning to take down a Robert E Lee statue and replace it with Oderus Urungus, so it prompted me to jump back into their catalog.
I like Scumdogs now - it gets by more on its humor and bizarre song concepts than actual fist-pumping metuhl like the album after it, but the songs are pretty catchy and quotable ("how do you hide money from a hippie? hide it under the soap!"). also the first verse of Salaminizer parodies N.W.A.'s "Gangsta, Gangsta".
so I've actually started digging into their 90s albs, their pre-Brockie demise albums, and one post-Brockie album, and I'm going to start rating these things as S or D, which I know approximately 1.3 of you are waiting for on baited breath. but if any of you dig GWAR enough to know how more than 5 of their songs go, i wanna know which ones you like too.
the only definitive rulings I've made thus far:
Search: Scumdogs of the Universe (key trax: "Slaughterama", "Maggots", "Sick of You", "The Salaminizer"), America Must Be Destroyed (key trax: "Ham on the Bone", "Gor-Gor", "Crack in the Egg", "Pussy Planet", "Morality Police"), Ragnarok ("Meat Sandwich", "Surf of Syn", "The New Plague", "Wharghoul", "Fire in the Loins", "Crush, Kill, Destroy")Destroy: We Kill Everything (I bought this on recc from a GWAR fan and wondered why, after the opening track, it sucked so hard, then I realized I mistook it for another albu)Under Review: Carnival of Chaos, This Toilet Earth, Violence Has Arrived, War Party, The Blood of Gods
so yeah I'll make rulings on these and others I acquire and give arbitrary numbers like Pitchfork.
― I hear that sometimes Satan wants to defund police (Neanderthal), Monday, 22 June 2020 04:36 (two weeks ago) link
Was that X-Cops side project any good?
― Siegbran, Monday, 22 June 2020 14:27 (two weeks ago) link
I got Carnival of Chaos when it came out, or nearly when it came out, because it was one of the few used CDs in the tiny CD store in the neighboring town. A lot of it is just dumb fun, and by then they didn't seem to want to constrain themselves to any particular style. There was a folk ballad, a lounge tune, a psychedelic breakdown that went on way too long, in among the kind of sub thrash punk-metal crossover stuff they got famous for. I'm curious how you'll rate it when you get to it; the only other GWAR album I've owned is the RSD pressing of America Must Be Destroyed, and the pressing didn't sound great and it was worth more to me as rent money at some point.
Are you going to do at-length reviews of any of these? Or is that something you'd have to get paid to do?
― Revolutionary Girl Utrenja (Tom Violence), Monday, 22 June 2020 15:04 (two weeks ago) link
always liked Vlad the Impaler (scumdogs), especially for the Normal Mailer reference, which is 99% down to listing everything that rhymes with impaler and trying to fit it into the song..
― my opinionation (Hamildan), Monday, 22 June 2020 15:28 (two weeks ago) link
It's been a long time since I listened to a whole GWAR album, and I only saw them once, at City Gardens in Trenton, NJ in 1989 (Mudhoney, the Fluid, and Steel Pole Bathtub opened). Years later, I interviewed Brockie, and when he picked up the phone and said hello, he asked, "So, do you want to talk to Dave, or do you want to talk to Oderus?" I opted for Dave, and he was awesome.
― but also fuck you (unperson), Monday, 22 June 2020 15:29 (two weeks ago) link
― Revolutionary Girl Utrenja (Tom Violence), Monday, June 22, 2020 11:04 AM bookmarkflaglink
I'm on a week's vacay and bored af so I'll probably do full length reviews of most of the ones i have in Under Review
― I hear that sometimes Satan wants to defund police (Neanderthal), Monday, 22 June 2020 15:38 (two weeks ago) link
ok I'm ready. sorry for delay
My first ruling is on THIS TOILET EARTH.
So this one has mixed reception among fans and casuals alike, mostly because it's "more commercial", and it's not a 'concept album' (not like anybody really follows the storylines that closely). But it's fairly fun, not all that "metal", more metal-adjacent or alternative metal, with dabbling in other genres throughout. Nothing veers too far because instrumentally, they're somewhat limited. The first six songs are a helluva start before the filler starts to start showing up. It's only 40 minutes but it feels longer due to the filler.
"Saddam A-Go-Go" feels like a 90's alternative metal song with the horns and the simple Helmet-esque guitars.
"Penis I See" is basically a pop-punk song, and it's catchy as hell, but thank God you can't make out the lyrics, which are Cannibal Corpse-y and revolting.
"Eat Steel" is about putting a gun in someone's mouth and shooting them - feels kinda like an Offspring jam with yelled vocals instead of Dexter's reedy voice. It goes pretty hard
"Jack the World" almost sounds like late-80s and early 90s Goo Goo Dolls. Incredibly ear-wormy song, and lyrically ,the first one that feels like GWAR, about enslaving people through TV.
"Sonderkommando" gives off Faith No More (circa-Angel Dust) vibes, minus any actual "singing". but it has a pretty macabre mood to it.
"Pepperoni" feels like Mr Bungle-esque funk, though it never reaches those heights.
I'm done going over individual tracks, there's really no thrash metal here, it's a gumbo of catchy songs with grotesque lyrics that for once have no overarching theme.
― I hear that sometimes Satan wants to defund police (Neanderthal), Friday, 26 June 2020 01:59 (two weeks ago) link
next up, Battle Maximus, the last one with Oderus.
This album has Brent Purgason of Cannabis Corpse, so the musicianship is like 3000000 times higher than any of the old Gwar albums. It feels like a traditional heavy metal/power metal album, still with the same ridiculous lyrics and themes, but the music is actually high quality!
Oderus essentially has completed the transformation to alien Gene Simmons by this album, and his vocals are treated quite a bit. The guitars are unmistakably Cannabis Corpse-y through a power metal/thrash/heavy metal lens.
Old GWAR doesn't really make you wanna head-bang (except a lot of America Must Be Destroyed), but there's outright pit-esque riffs here, and blazing solos and all. the songs are catchy as fuck, Oderus is still singing the inane shit he always does.
Only downside to me is its missing some of the amateurish, genre-hopping goofiness I loved about the classic-era, and it's 51 minutes (about 11 more than I'd like a GWAR album to be), but...this shit fuckin' slays!
― I hear that sometimes Satan wants to defund police (Neanderthal), Saturday, 27 June 2020 21:35 (two weeks ago) link