• GWAR – The Blood Of Gods

    GWAR – The Blood Of Gods
    Released by: Metal Blade
    Released on: October 20th, 2017.
    Year: 2017
    Purchase From Amazon

    GWAR have been touring without the late, great Oderus Urungus for a while now (check out our review of an NYC show from last 2015 here) but 2017’s The Blood Of Gods marks their first recording without him. The lineup this time is the same as the last record, 2013’s Battle Maximus, save for the fact that Oderus has been replaced with The Beserker Blóthar (Michael Bishop, who was the original Beefcake The Mighty). It’s a noticeable change – nobody sang like Dave Brockie sang and Blóthar doesn’t even try (thankfully) – but it’s not a bad change. Rounding out the rest of the band is Beefcake The Mighty on bass, Pustulus Maximus on lead guitar, BälSäc the Jaws ‘o Death on rhythm guitar, JiZMak da Gusha behind the drumkit and then there are various vocal contributions from not only the rest of the band but also Bonesnapper (the band’s bodyguard) and Sawborg Destructo, their ‘annoying nemesis.’

    War On GWAR, the seven and a half minute opener, sets a fairly epic tone for what’s to come and basically introduces us to the concept behind the album. Blóthar pleas to the ‘father of war’ and rants about uniting armies, how the children of Earth have been deceived and how the gods shall be hanged. From there, the band gets heavy, chunky, doomy – channeling Black Sabbath for a bit and then from there, the restraints are broken and the song blasts through the next six minutes with a mix of seriously solid playing and unhinged, pissed off vocals.

    Viking Death Machine is a bit more ‘traditional’ in terms of what you’d expect from GWAR. This one is a straight ahead rager, a dirty, sleazy rock n roll track about fighting and fucking that channels influences as varied as AC/DC and Thor while still managing to sound like GWAR. Blóthar’s vocals really shine here, they’re raspy and dirty sounding and they work really well. If Nashville Pussy were into Viking stuff it might sound a bit like this four minute blast of insanity.

    El Presidente, another four minute track, sees the band in familiar territory taking some well-aimed potshots at a certain political figure. No surprise there, if you’ve seen any of their recent live shows (Kathy Griffin has nothing on GWAR). It’s also interesting to hear some horns in the mix here, and to hear some of the other band members chime in behind the mic from time to time. This track is clearly done in GWAR’s inimitable style, which means there’s a certain amount of satire to it, but the anger and frustration that work their way into the lyrics and overall tone of the track would seem to be entirely legitimate.

    I'll Be Your Monster brings that riff-rock style from the second track back to the album in a big way, offering up three minutes of straight ahead boogie rock, albeit done with the heaviness and smarm you’d expect from the band. This track is, in a word, fun.

    Auroch is straight ahead thrash, a dark sounding track that doesn’t relent for a second. This is the fastest, grubbiest track on the album. Blóthar’s vocals sound like a machine gun at times, they just go off in a steady stream of vitriol, while the band has never sounded tighter. Putulus’ guitar work in particular really shines here, while Beefcake and BälSäc holding their own too. This one will peel the skin off your face if you’re not careful.

    Swarm starts off with the sound of changing radio stations – we hear news blurbs and then eventually we settle in on a quick guitar riff over which comes the rest of the band, hammering away with speed and precision. Saw what you will about GWAR but the recent lineup really show some serious chops – it’s easy to dismiss them as a novelty act but they play extremely well. At any rate, this one is pretty solid, a four and a half minute long punk influenced slugger with a seriously catchy chorus and a genuinely dark tone to it. Great stuff.

    Those expecting the new album to continue the ‘story’ will appreciate The Sordid Soliloquy Of Sawborg Destructo, which is four minutes of GWAR’s trademark wonkiness, it’s less inspired than most of the other material on the album but it helps to push the narrative forward. That said, it lets Blóthar takes his vocals into some different territory and show some serious range.

    Death To Dickie Duncan is a three and a half minute track that takes some shots at the fast food industry and its tendency to market to kids and feed them garbage. GWAR has always had a bit of a social conscience even if it wasn’t’ always obvious and this track is a good example of it. The band sounds great here, the vocals are solid again, but the parts done ‘in character’ as Dickie take away from it a bit. Still, when Blóthar howls the way he howls here you can’t help but pump your fist. Eat healthy kids!

    From there, it’s time to be Crushed By The Cross, a four minute track that stands as one of the best on this record. This one blazes, it’s fast, it’s punchy, it’s angry and it is insanely fierce. It’s tracks like this that prove Blóthar was the right choice to replace Orderus, as he really is completely ‘in the zone’ on this one. At the same time, again, the band fire on all cylinders. This might be a fairly straight forward thrash/punk track but it’s fantastic.

    Equally ass kicking is Fuck This Place, a five minute track that brings us closer to the album’s finish. Again, this is a track that furthers the story as Blóthar rants about GWAR’s birthing of the human race, their thoughts on how shitty the planet is, and the loss of Oderus who they feel has left them stranded on this rock. It’s done with a sense of humor, of course, but at the same time there’s a weird sadness to the track that makes it a little more emotional than you might think it would be. Either way, this is everything a good GWAR track should be – angry, catchy, heavy and gleefully crass. Definitely one of the stand out tracks on a genuinely solid album.

    Phantom Limb is a bit on the longer side at six minutes in length. It starts off ‘big’ with some booming drums, dual guitar work and a heavy bass line. From there, it keeps up with its ‘slow jam’ style as Blóthar croons about having to work for the master and the trials and tribulations of being an alien stranded on Earth. Again, there are nods here to having lost Oderus and the band’s history and it is more moving than any GWAR song should be. There’s a seriousness to the intent here that’s impressive, but of course, it’s all done completely in character as it should be. This is an odd one, almost a ballad, but it’s still dark and brooding and heavy. Shades of The Road Behind on this track, but it works really well and once again the vocals impress as does the musicianship backing them up.

    Last but not least, there’s a cover of AC/DC’s seminal If You Want Blood (You Got It) – an entirely appropriate track for the band to cover and a great way to close the album off with what is essentially a celebration of their ethos after the far more brooding Phantom Limb. With this last track the band just sound like they’re having fun, waving a middle finger at the fucking naysayers.

    There are going to be those out there that dismiss the album simply because Orderus isn’t on here, and to an extent I get that. He was such a huge part of the band for so long that it is impossible not to think of him when thinking about GWAR. Having said that, Blóthar and company have done a fine job with this album, simultaneously expanding on the band’s legacy (now more than three decades long) and honoring its fallen leader. As is always the case, there are tracks here that work better than others but by and large this is a really solid slab of the kind of metal/punk/nonsense that’s made GWAR so fucking rad for the last thirty plus years. Dismissing it because Brockie is gone would be a mistake – give this one a fair shot. The Blood Of Gods is a seriously good record.
    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Darcy Parker's Avatar
      Darcy Parker -

      Neigh sayers would be horses, but then again, I don't know if they like Gwar, so maybe the correction isn't needed.
    1. Ian Jane's Avatar
      Ian Jane -
      Quote Originally Posted by Darcy Parker View Post
      Neigh sayers would be horses, but then again, I don't know if they like Gwar, so maybe the correction isn't needed.