GWAR – “Blood Of The Gods” (Metal Blade)
Never mind the White House. Never mind Congress. GWAR is the real American institution! Anyone who grew up in the 90s and went to their shows (and got covered in blood n jizz) will know what the f–k happens when you cross the universe’s scumdogs with apes to create the human race!! Founded and fronted by Oderus Urungus (aka Dave Brockie), GWAR terrorized the US for over 2 decades until his untimely death in 2014, aged just 50 years. For many, this spelled the end of the band, nay the institution itself. However, the rest of the scumdogs have instead taken stock, regrouped and returned with this mighty fine 14th release with some big pluses on their side. Firstly see’s the return of the original Beefcake The Mighty in the form of Mike Bishop (who debuted alongside Oderus on GWAR’s 1988 debut “Hell-O”) now reanimated as lead vocalist Blothar and secondly is the involvement of producer Ronan Murphy, whose association and friendship with the band goes way back into GWAR’s history. Wisely not attempting to substitute the giant persona of Urungus (not to mention his outright weirdness), this album see’s a group approach to what they each do best and a definite emphasis on the songs themselves such as on the slow but dirty thrash of ‘El Presidente’ where multiple quirky vocal styles from the members add joviality to what is essentially a diatribe against their current Commander in Chief! Musically, GWAR also venture closer to the rock n roll of their early albums of “Scumdogs of the Universe” and “America Must Be Destroyed” like on the 70s theatrical Alice Cooper rock of ‘Viking Death Machine’ – pretty apt considering that in real life (or death I should say) Brockie was sent off on a viking funeral pyre boat that nearly consumed the bereaving crowd heh heh! Indeed, the whole album is dedicated to him right from the title to the especially powerful ‘Phantom Limb’ – probably the only somber and emotional track with plenty of heartfelt grief in both the music and lyrics. That said, there’s plenty for moshers in the slave pit to like such as the neck snapping crossover punk ‘Auroch’ and the galloping thrash of ‘Crushed By The Cross’, complete with some quirky femme harmonies, while on ‘Fuck This Place’ there is a remarkably upbeat feel to this punk rocker despite its pissed off subject matter. So yes, Dave Brockie and his awesome presence may have gone, but instead of despondency, the rest of GWAR have rallied and come together in the music on this fine album that strangely, I’m sure he would be pleased with.