Gwar - Battle Maximus

Gwar - Battle Maximus

(CD, Metal Blade Records, 2013)

Even if you dislike GWAR (I don’t see a reason why...) you have to acknowledge that the Scumdogs Of The Universe have been in non-stop battle with Earth since the mid-80s. Sure, a lot of water (or should I say blood?) has run under the bridge (and still does), seeing GWAR changing music styles from Punk, to extremely humorous party-like thing, to the nowadays Thrash mayhem that I think fits them better. According to Oderus, Flattus Maximus had a lot to do with this music-style change and in fact the new album “Battle Maximus” is entirely dedicated to this guitarist who left the Earth so abruptly. I think the stakes were really high since it cannot be an easy task to bounce back after losing a bandmate and most importantly a friend. Anyway, life goes on and so do GWAR who are challenged by a new foe determined to steal the secret of eternal life...

The short intro gives the background to the album’s story during which Oderus says this could be the death of GWAR... (I think this has definitely to do with the emotional burden on the old members due to the passing of their friend). Impressively, “Madness At The Core Of Time” sounds like the continuation of “Bloody Pit Of Horror” with what it seems to me more Punk-oriented rhythm guitars, paying respect at the band’s early years. But the leading riffs are of the latest Flattus Maximus-era with awesome double guitar harmonies perfect for concert slaughter and non-stop headbanging. I think getting back in the studio was the best way to vent – at least – some of the emotions created by the passing of Flattus. The band worked in the brand new Slave Pit Studios and I have to give kudos to the production for the natural and extremely tight sound. Yeah, “Nothing Left Alive” is the perfect example for this, with the fat rhythm section (love the pounding double bass drum action), the in-your-face singing by Oderus and the SLAYER-esque guitar solo. The galloping “They Swallowed The Sun” became an album favorite being a classic GWAR song with the trademark vocalisms, especially to the otherwise catchy chorus (you can actually sing along in this) and – surprise – the minimal but efficient keyboard melodies. This is the GWAR madness we, the Slaves like to listen... Again, the guitars step into the limelight during the massive thrasher “Raped At Birth” where it wouldn’t be too much to mention some Bay Area influences on the side of the dialogue-mix singing. And let’s not forget the lyrics that have the Oderus signature all over the place: “ time I got raped with a chair still, good came of it, I can’t retain my shit...” (I guess, listener discretion should be advised, hehehe). In “I, Bonesnapper” get ready to welcome a bass-driven Hardcore assault, while screaming on-top-of-your-lungs “it’s not easy being green” before getting back in headbanging mode under the screaming singing by Bonesnapper himself (love the crying-part) and the killer temp break.

If you haven’t done already then the title instrumental track of the album will make you tip your hat to Pustulus for setting up a nice collection of Thrash riffs solos that I think work as the best showcase for his guitar abilities justifying his addition to the GWAR ship. “Fly Now” is maybe the most strong song of the album since it talks about Flattus in an attempt to give some kind of closure and let the GWAR legacy go on. The closing lyrics say it all: “fly now, Flattus, be free”.

I guess it will not be inappropriate to say that after almost three decades GWAR have just opened a brand new chapter in their Earth-fighting story and I cannot imagine a reason why not to be happy. This album has all the trademark characteristics of this band despite the lineup change, so the only question is if you have the stomach to deal with the underlying caustic humor and the onstage carnage. On the other hand, if you kept reading up to this point, then you’re most probably wearing the whitest t-shirt getting ready for the upcoming GWAR tour.





01. Intro
02. Madness At The Core Of Time
03. Bloodbath
04. Nothing Left Alive
05. They Swallowed The Sun
06. Torture
07. Raped At Birth
08. I, Bonesnapper
09. Mr. Perfect
10. Battle Maximus
11. Triumph Of The Pig Children
12. Falling
13. Fly Now


Oderus Urungus - Vocals
BalSac, The Jaws Of Death - Rhythm Guitars
Jizmak Da Gusha - Drums
Beefcake The Mighty - Bass
Pustulus Maximus - Lead Guitars