GWAR – THE BLOOD OF GODS (METAL BLADE RECORDS)
GWAR are mostly known for their overly ridiculous stage shows where they spray fake blood and piss and whatever else into the crowds, but beyond all that, they actually make music and they’ve released their first full-length album since the untimely and tragic death of then-frontman David Brockie in 2014. I know what at least some of you readers are thinking: “But it’s not GWAR without Oderus Urungus!” Well to that I have to say two things: One, Brockie wanted his band to go on forever, and two, the man to step up to the plate was GWAR veteran Mike Bishop (better known to GWAR fans as Blothar). Let’s all sit down and talk about how The Blood of Gods actually kicks a lot of ass, okay? Okay.
According to the bio provided to us by Metal Blade Records: “Their new album, The Blood of Gods, is nothing less than a sacred text chronicling the rise of humanity against their makers, and the massive battle between Gwar and the forces of all that is uptight and wrong with the world. Along the way, the band challenges the sins of their great mistake, from politics, pollution, and organized religion, to fast food, and factory farming. Humans are shown as what they are; a parasitical disease that must be eradicated before they suck the planet dry.”
The album opens up rather slowly with the prog-sounding “War on GWAR”. A spoken word intro to the track is shortly overtaken by deafening feedback, pushing into some Black Sabbath-style guitars and up-tempo drums met with power metal vocals. The seven-minute and twenty-one-second track speeds up and slows down at appropriate times, setting the scene and the pace for the rest of the record. It’s not too heavy, and it’s not all slow and sappy (if it was, it wouldn’t be GWAR). “Viking Death Machine” is a pretty sweet retro-sounding tune with decent speed and a bit of silliness with lyrics like “I’m a Viking god, do you understand? If you wanna fuck me, let me see a show of hands!”
“El Presidente” is a politically charged track which has a hint of third-wave ska mixed in with classic metal, and “I’ll Be Your Monster” has much more of that classic metal infusion. Next up is “Auroch,” and if you were looking for a song to mosh to, look no further. The track has lots of thrash heavy elements and carries with it a ton of energy. Broadcast stations change in the intro to “Swarm” which has a distinct surf-punk vibe, but still very much carries on GWAR‘s signature heaviness and absurdity with lyrics like “Stop pissing! Stop shitting!” in the chorus, all the while managing to get a very important message across.
“The Sordid Soliloquy of Sawborg Destructo” is almost a tongue-twister in and of itself, and is kind of a fun throwback to some of the band’s earlier material. “The Death of Dickie Duncan” has yet more of that classic metal sound with lots of silliness filling up the bits in between, while “Crushed by the Cross” has an all-too-brief pipe organ intro before crossing into another thrash infused powerhouse that hits hard. At one point or another, we’ve all wanted to get mad and say “Fuck This Place” and GWAR does just that with the next track. “Phantom Limb” is as good a power ballad as any, and the impressive AC/DC cover of “If You Want Blood (You Got it)” closes out the album with gusto.
Honestly, I had no idea what to expect when I loaded this album in for a review. I didn’t know if I was going to love it or hate it, but I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I know the more hardcore GWAR fans may be a bit apprehensive, but go into it with an open mind and you won’t be disappointed. Blothar‘s vocal range is incredible, and the rest of the band is on point throughout the entirety of the record. There are some important messages interwoven into the part-punk-part-metal-part-weirdness that is The Blood of Gods and it is most definitely worth it for you to go buy this album. 5 out of 5 axes, easily.
- War on GWAR
- Viking Death Machine
- El Presidente
- I’ll Be Your Monster
- The Sordid Soliloquy of Sawborg Destructo
- Death to Dickie Duncan
- Crushed by the Cross
- Fuck This Place
- Phantom Limb
- If You Want Blood (You Got It)
Michael Bishop/Blothar – Lead Vocals
Bob Gorman/Bone Snapper – Backing Vocals
Matt Maguire/Sawborg Destructo- Backing Vocals
Brent Purgason/Pustulus Maximus – Lead Guitar
Mike Derks/Balsac the Jaws of Death – Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
Jamison Land/Beefcake the Mighty – Bass, Backing Vocals
Written by Mitch Ellerbrock for Bloodrock Media on November 1, 2017